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Ted Rall’s at it again
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, July 14, 2007

Not that it should surprise anyone in particular, but as I said previously, these sorts of things must be made public and condemned. While I respect his 1st Amendment right to put anything up he wants to, I reserve my 1st Amendment right to call him a despicable creep and to hold him and his effort in utter and eternal contempt:

(HT: Michelle Malkin)
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Illustrated moral relativism. It’s not pretty.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Ted Rall: Profile of a Sewer-side Bomber

What a maroon.

 
Written By: Gary B
URL: http://
He comes right out and says what John Kerry could only hint.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Please, McQ...enough with the emotional arguments and ad hominem attacks. [/Erb]
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Why do you folks keep giving Rall the attention he craves?

Rewarding bad behavior results in more bad behavior.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
Why do you folks keep giving Rall the attention he craves?
I think I was pretty clear as to why.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
This is the most Islamophobic cartoon since the Jyllands-Posten incident. Ted Rall has insulted obedience to Allah, and the sacrifice of the martyrs by comparing the noble mujahideen to the infidel neo-imperialist stooges who wear American Uniforms. I hereby issue a fatwa calling for Ted Rall to apologize else face the wrath of Allah.

Ted you have insulted Muslims everywhere, what do you have to say for yourself?
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
I think he makes a valid point with satire. There are real similarities between the mentalities of a soldier loyal to a state, and one loyal to a faith, especially when you get religious right wing nationalists. There are differences too. Perhaps rather than label him politically incorrect and attacking, you might think about his point and maybe discuss it. Nah, easier to go the PC emotional route. His point is something seen by a lot of students when they study war and think about it. You should give it serious thought, figuring out the differences as well as the similarities might be important in explaining support for the war, after all. Taking this seriously does not mean you have to agree (and thanks for the cartoon, I plan to use it to generate discussion!)
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Since some of you may respond from your gut and not really think about what I said, let me tell how I’ll use the cartoon. In courses on World Politics, when we cover terrorism, one thing we do is figure out why terrorism exists — what motivates people to engage in acts of terror (not just the Mideast, but we look at a variety of terror). I use the example of Timothy McVeigh, who believed he was a soldier fighting a necessary war to arouse rebellion in the US. I then work to followers of Bin Laden, who believe their identity and culture is threatened by a powerful, greedy western aggressor, with the only way to protect their society is to do whatever it takes to hurt that aggressor. We go over the motivations and note that the terrorist considers himself a soldier at war. And the motives are not much different than that which motivates soldiers of any state.

So is there a moral difference between a soldier and a terrorist, I ask? Many students say no, and are ready to stop there. But I’ll push them to consider two factors: 1) what the cause is; and 2) the acts allowed (e.g., public beheadings and mass murders vs. rules of war). Both cause considerable debate. Everyone thinks their cause is right, if we’re the aggressor in Iraq we’re assuming our morals apply to them, that is wrong, say some. Others focus on freedom and helpling people overcome dictatorships (which we do sometimes but not, say, in Rwanda — which leads to a discussion of national interest). On the latter some say that our rules of war create the illusion of civilized conflict, that we kill more with our weapons, and we’ve used nuclear weapons — that’s far worse than a bunch of public beheadings. Others note that context matters, and we don’t kill innocents brutally just for the sake of doing so. Some point out cynically that for them the context is that they have to arouse fear since they are relatively weak, so the tactic makes as much sense for them as use of nuclear weapons did for use in 1945. The bottom line: this kind of debate is really necessary if we aren’t to critically follow the state into war; it is a libertarian kind of approach, to question the state and our devotion to it. Ultimately people generally agree that there is a difference and since war is at times necessary we have to make the moral distinctions (though a surprising number of moral relativists refuse to budge). If we have discussions like this to show we understand the complexity of the issues (and better, if soldiers have discussions like that), we’re less likely to follow the state and big government into battle.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Man. On first laying eyes on Rall’s scrawls, I figured it would be a long, long time before I saw a more obscene provocation from scummier bag of slime. And then I read the last couple of comments.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
I then work to followers of Bin Laden, who believe their identity and culture is threatened by a powerful, greedy western aggressor, with the only way to protect their society is to do whatever it takes to hurt that aggressor.
That’s a rather generous acceptance of the "jihad" assertion. You don’t see anything aggressive in their intentions?
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
That’s a rather generous acceptance of the "jihad" assertion. You don’t see anything aggressive in their intentions?
Their view is they are defending Islam from the West and a threat to its identity. It started with the battle against the Soviets in Afghanistan, then with Desert Storm and the stationing of American troops in Saudi Arabia, Osama and the extremists turned against the West, who they accused of taking their oil, buying off corrupt un-Islamic regimes, and threatening their cultural identity. While you see in recent years rhetoric about expanding Islam, they have often claimed that if we left the region, that would be enough — "if the West stops its aggression against Islam, we can live in peace." So yes, they see themselves as defenders rather than aggressors. Jihad is to them what "just war" is to many of us.

I see Linda again prefers emotion and labeling some things as not PC and thus legitimate targets of personal attack to actual discussion and engagement. Oh well, that’s OK. No harm done.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"And then I read the last couple of comments"

He hasn’t outgrown that adolescent urge to take contrarian and provocative positions in order to shock and anger the grownups, but he has acquired enough education and skill to camouflage it as some sort of intellectual truth seeking. Unfortunately he has also reached a stage in life where he cannot be sent to his room and grounded. Also unfortunately, society has reached the stage where such puerile provocation is tolerated, or even rewarded. Ward Churchill, for example.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Scott Erb,

I think you miss the mark when it comes to Islamic Terror and their goal.
Your theory dose not explain; jihad in India, Taiwan, Philippines and all the other Islamic terror prior to 1979. Nor does it explain terrorist’s continued bombings against their own civilian populations.

Did you by any chance read the interview of the terrorist in England the other day when he basically said that your western guilt theory is the best ally against the west terrorists had? Imagined western slights cloud the issue for terrorists and cripples the west with unjustified quilt.
I think imagined western offences give moral cowards an out on this war that they can drape in false enlightenment.
You can sprinkle sugar on it all you want but that theory is a turd. Don’t call it candy.
 
Written By: Brian Kilburn
URL: http://
"...and better, if soldiers have discussions like that..."
For once I can go along with Professor Erb’s comment (Disclaimer: approval limited to the material in this thread between "Since some of you... and "the complexity of the issues.").

Persons contemplating becoming soldiers might well profit from such a discussion. However, having signed up and taken the oath creating a duty to go into battle when ordered to do so IMHO precludes them (voluntarily) from such discussions.

Professor Erb’s ignorance of what a soldier should do can be excused because of his stated unpatriotic, free-riding attitude regarding soldiering. Why he feels qualified in any way to comment on soldiering ...
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Brian,

I am going by statements from Osama Bin Laden and following the rise of Islamic extremism as a popular movement. There were various other groups before, but in general modernism and western influence has led many to think that their way of life is under attack, and they are betrayed by their governments. That is the driving force of most of the terror motivation. But you miss a point when you say "western guilt." Nothing in what I stated was meant to arouse guilt; if they had stronger civil societies and better leadership, they’d not have the power vacuum and lack of hope filled by extremist propaganda. Note that the most aggressive and expansive 20th century force, Nazi Germany, began out of a sense of defense against a West who, after WWI worked to marginalize and limit Germany. The most aggressive and dangerous forces often arise from a sense that they are under threat and have to fight to survive. Thus understanding the motives does not rationalize nor excuse the results, and even if the motives are defensive fear, that quickly can morph into an offensive ideal.

It is undeniable that the West has penetrated the region in search of oil, and has supported authoritarian and corrupt regimes. But that doesn’t mean that western ideas aren’t ultimately best for the region, or that there is a blame game going. It does, however, lead me to worry that if Africa doesn’t develop, a charismatic movement could unite a continent used to war and violence in hatred of a West they will blame, rightly or wrongly, for their lack of development. They could in 20 to 30 years be a far more serious threat than Islamic extremism is now.

Notherbob, first, soldiers do not have to blindly follow orders — they are required to disobey orders that are not legal (entail war crimes, etc.) I was only following orders is not a legitimate excuse. And we do have soldiers (obviously not active duty, but sometimes inbetween rotations) who do participate in these discussions. Participation in a discussion does not equal refusal to fight. I’ve found military people add a lot to these discussions, and most aren’t so insecure in their position that they see a discussion as a threat — quite the contrary.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
He hasn’t outgrown that adolescent urge to take contrarian and provocative positions...
Hmmm, most of history’s greats have taken contrarian and provocative positions! Indeed, such folk are the backbone of progress. Adolescent urges are more to do things like insult, try to personally attack others, or call names. I haven’t unfortunately completely outgrown that, but I daresay I do better than some.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Anything can be used to generate discussion, but that doesn’t mean this cartoon has a valid point.
It’s possible you did correct the false statements implied in this cartoon to your students before opening the floor to them, in which case I commend you and the bulk of this post is moot. But that wasn’t reflected in your post (which was also a personal attack, whether you realize it or not). You didn’t want your students to accept the opinions of the cartoon without thinking through them. But students are expected to accept the underlying facts of material that is presented to them, and that is why many people have an issue with this cartoon.

I only have a few hours free a week right now, so please don’t be offended it I don’t answer any question this post generates. Rall’s point is only seen by people that don’t know what the heck they are talking about (maybe because their professors have been lying about Iraq since the first Gulf War, not even using readily available information in their case studies). I know there are bloggers on this site with much more military expertise than I, but I’m active duty enlisted so I can add some current (and lower-level) knowledge.
One panel at a time:
1. Male – Yes for me. Technically, Erb too.
2. Willingness to die for a cause. Yes for me. Along with Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock and many others. As Scott pointed out, the cause is an important factor. My cause is much closer to theirs than it is to Al-Qaida or insurgents or any other term you want to use for terrorists. In more general terms, anyone without something they are willing to die for doesn’t have that much to live for (be it family or freedom).

3. Religious fervor. As I mentioned about a month ago, my religion (R. Cath) does not condone most military actions. There is a conflict between being Christian and being in the military, but not a brick wall. Please learn about SGT York for further details. While we in the military for the Lord to look over us, we suffer no illusions of mystical protection, or heavenly gifts earned in battle. Most importantly, our missions are in no way determined by our faiths.

4. Poor Education. I know more about Middle East politics that the majority of Americans, and at least one professor of PolySci. The left’s view is not the soldier’s view. Between country training, working side-by-side with Muslims in numerous countries, and some real incentive to pay attention to the news and the ability to compare it to reality, soldiers know much more than civilians on average. (Real-world knowledge supplemented by 120 credits in Engineering, enlisted soldiers get much more formal education than civilian blue-collar counterparts). Also, we are vastly more educated than the followers of Bin Laden. Erb is correct when saying many of the followers beleive we intend to destroy their entire culture and they are only being defensive. That is only the lower level followers, and only due to their lack of education. The higher level followers, while still generally uneducated in the sense of formal schooling or extensive regard to facts, know full well what they are doing.

5. Blind Obedience. Actually, we are taught to question orders that may be immoral or illegal. In general we support the actions in Iraq because we have more knowledge about the subject. But we do follow orders that we don’t like, just as most Americans pay money in taxes to support programs they don’t agree with. Also, we don’t stick with bad information 16 years after the fact (Case study Iraq- Desert Storm), or believe everything we read in a cartoon. We also acknowledge the Constitution, which is why (unlike some Senators) we don’t make public political statements, because anytime we speak publicly, we are seen as speaking for the Army and/or the U.S. Government. (Side note: I often have more authority to make official policy statements than a Senator usually does, that authority travels down from the President. Any time time I’m authorized to interact with civilins on official business, what I’m allowed to state is government policy).

6. Poverty. You can’t legally be fired from your civilian job while serving in the National Guard. Me-I take home roughly 60K/year (UMF full-time avg 45K) and don’t pay a thing for full medical coverage (including prescriptions) for my entire family. I’m not rolling in dough, but most teachers do worse. Housing and food allowances are given to all members of the military. No one is in debt unless they can’t follow a budget, and unlike many civilian employers, we actually teach our employees how to budget.

7. Belief in Life after Death- Has nothing to do with the service. There are atheists and agnostics in the military too.
8. Immaturity – As Patton said, “It’s not your job to die for your country..." We don’t die for any cause. We risk death while taking actions in support of a cause. We are living our lives for something. Taking on additional responsibilities to lessen the burdens on others is actually a sign of maturity.

So, points 1, 3 and 7 are neutral in a soldier-to-civilian comparison.
Point 2 (Willingness to give your life for something) is a positive trait in terms of our military due to the cause.
Points 4, 5, 6 and 8 are negative traits that average college students (and in some cases profs) have much more of than the average soldier.

Yes, the cartoon can be used as a starting point for discussion, as can just about any media. But unless you want to give tacit approval to any ’facts’ implied by the cartoon (or case study, etc.) you must show where it is factually wrong before the discussion begins.

Just because similarities are assumed by a large portion of the population doesn’t make them valid. If you do not start with the truth, your student’s discussions are useful only as a mental exercise, but all ideas generated in that discussion are invalid. If a reasonable effort is not made to present facts and refute false implications is not made from the beginning, then the false view of reality they gain during the discussion will stay with them along with any the critical reasoning skills they gain.
People are taught at an obvious level when they are presented a lecture on a subject. They are also taught more subtly when led on a discussion or given research assignments. What many don’t realize it that leaders in any position (teachers, officers, civilian bosses, etc) are always teaching the people they are put in front of, because certain assumptions are made. It’s assumed that any material we present is factually correct unless we tell them to check it.


Some parts of this post may seem like they are "personal" to a portion of the reading audience. That’s because validating fictions about soldiers we have served with is very personal to anyone that has served. That was probably not your intent, but you have made a personal attack with the implication that it is more valid to compare a suicide bomber to a soldier than, say, one of your students. It would not be considered a personal attack if the inaccuracies in the cartoon were things that required a lot of research to refute. But when most of the information is readily available, not checking before defending it is offensive.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
"For once I can go along with Professor Erb’s comment..."
Damn! I knew that I had not thought that out. Approval revoked. Ted makes some excellent points.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
The cartoon is pretty much spot-on in its exposure of the pious frauds of not only the criminal Bush regime but also the war whore neo-cons like the Kagans and the Kristols, and as bonus it takes a swipe at the "religious" Right.
 
Written By: Steve J.
URL: http://radamisto.blogspot.com
...

I’ll post something later when I’m not blinded with rage...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
[Erb] has acquired enough education and skill to camouflage [his adolescent antics] as some sort of intellectual truth seeking. — timactual
Yes, with emphasis on seeking. The quarry, first trivialized, must be sought and sought again and subjected to endless, redundant rounds of debate, but in the games to which Scott subjects his young charges, the truth can never be found. It doesn’t even exist.
If you do not start with the truth, your student’s discussions are useful only as a mental exercise, but all ideas generated in that discussion are invalid. — Ted
Ted, superb takedown, with way more courtesy and benefit of the doubt than I’ll ever again imagine is deserved. By refuting the applicability of the depicted traits to the men and women in our military, you remind me to add that "poor education" and "poverty" don’t even apply to the freaking suicidal terrorists, as we saw — again — when last week’s plots of the UK doctors and engineers went up in flames.

Would that you and those like you could take charge of the classrooms in this country, but thank God in heaven above that we don’t have to depend on the likes of Scott to do your job.

Thank you for your service.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
I’ll post something later when I’m not blinded with rage... Scott Jacobs
Oh come on. That didn’t stop me. You’ll feel better. Really. And it’s not as though all the collected calm and rationality in the whole world can even put a dent in the thick head of the... thing that gets off on yanking your chain.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Erb, what you seem to have ignored is that Bin Laden didn’t limit himself in any way, shape, or fashion to recent history. He was (Mistah Bin Laden, he dead), and his followers are, still angry over Islam being kicked out of Spain in 1492. Still ready to think this is over our actions?

Islam, the religion, was founded on the idea of forcible conversion whenever its’ adherents were strong enough to do so. Just as only about 20% of the population of America was motivated enough to actually fight the Revolution, only about 20% of Muslims are willing to play an active role in jihad. The rest will give lip service to whoever is in charge.

Incidentally, Christianity was NOT so founded, and those who have used it as an excuse for conquest have had to go directly against the words of the Founder. Not so with Islam.
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
Some good comments, but don’t be myopic. War is not just the US military, but there are militaries world wide, and in studying these things we have to look in general at warfare — that’s the point in making comparisons. A book I strongly recommend is War is a Force that Gives us Meaning by Chris Hedges. Ted, you make many good points, but be wary of the belief that you "know more." You have a particular kind of information and a bias, just as anyone else. Soldiers in the field don’t usually know more about the geopolitical realities beyond what they encounter, and those may be more important to policy. You know a particular perspective and aspect of the situation better than others, but Senators and analysts are required to take a lot more into account, and their analysis has to take things into account an average soldier often does not know.

SDN: You don’t understand Islam at all. It was not founded to forcibly take over the world, and opposes forcible conversion. You are simply wrong.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
SDN: You don’t understand Islam at all. It was not founded to forcibly take over the world, and opposes forcible conversion. You are simply wrong.
Shorter Erb..."Please ignore the Muslims who disagree with me."
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
JWG: No, be smart. Support Muslims like Muhammad Yunus, who wants to develop an entrepreneurial spirit through micro credit, ignore or oppose the conservative clerics who tried to argue that was unIslamic. Oppose extremists who want to treat Islam as a violent religion or to rationalize terror.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I’m at a complete loss for words about this horrible cartoonist.

When my anger cools down enough to write something legible I’ll have something better to say about this guy.

Sgt. Tim, who responded on Michelle Malkin’s website, sums up my feelings though.

Ted Rall left out the four panels he’d need for ‘anger,’ the ones depicting me repeatedly punching him in the face. Yet he’d need four more to also show me instead seething, tolerating his sick usage of his free speech, me tossing his cartoon in the garbage, and my use of free speech here to tell him what a scumbag I think he is.

It’s apparent that Ted Rall’s about as far left as they come.

v/r
Spc. Ricardo Branch
Camp Ramadi, Iraq
 
Written By: Ricardo Branch
URL: http://
Oppose extremists who want to treat Islam as a violent religion or to rationalize terror.
There is no one who comments here who does not oppose them. However, most of us also do not ignore their large numbers and global influence.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Careful there, Spc Branch...

If you say anything Rall could consider a threat, he’ll bitch and whine about it for ten years...

I’m sorry you folks over there had to see that crap.

Stay safe, Soldier...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Erb, I’ve read the Koran. Have you?
 
Written By: SDN
URL: http://
He hasn’t outgrown that adolescent urge to take contrarian and provocative positions in order to shock and anger the grownups, but he has acquired enough education and skill to camouflage it as some sort of intellectual truth seeking.
My congratulations, Tim. That is likely the most concise description of the good professor as I’ve ever seen.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
"...some sort of intellectual truth seeking"

I might add, at the risk of detracting from what I have already said, that such efforts are basically intellectual masturbation(also an adolescent fixation), producing pleasure for the one doing it, but totally self-indulgent and unproductive.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Wow, so much negative emotion, fantasies of violence, and content-less personal insults! Time to quote the band Rush again: "The world is a cage for your impotent rage, but don’t let it get to you." (From Neurotica, on the CD Roll the Bones.

Here’s the deal: when people have weak arguments and someone shows that weakness they can either: a) honestly reflect and reconsider, working with the other person to discuss an issue; or b) put up a shell, get angry because the other person must just be using "fancy words" or is slippery like "mercury," and use insult and anger to avoid having to confront ones own errors. At least, that’s the way it looks to me, for some of you. Yet, the good thing is that looking through the insults on many threads, you still provide some insight and perspective that caues me to rethink my positions and so I do learn from even the most insulting. It actually makes it a fun challenge to read through the emotion and get to the pearls of wisdom sometimes there.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Support Muslims like Muhammad Yunus, who wants to develop an entrepreneurial spirit through micro credit, ignore or oppose the conservative clerics who tried to argue that was unIslamic.
These same conservative clerics have a big line on macro credit (oil) and standing armies/death squads. To oppose a well equpped army requires a better equipped army, ignoring it is silly. Do not be silly.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
2. Willingness to die for a cause. Yes for me. Along with Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock and many others. As Scott pointed out, the cause is an important factor. My cause is much closer to theirs than it is to Al-Qaida or insurgents or any other term you want to use for terrorists. In more general terms, anyone without something they are willing to die for doesn’t have that much to live for (be it family or freedom).

Exactly what we find so scary about suicide bombers is their willingness to die for a cause. We take that willingness and translate it into some sort of universal, continentally-wide imperviousness to rationality.

Ted Rall’s point here is not about soldiers - obviously the point of view regarding the US military is a series of crude generalizations. If you put an Iraqi insurgent in this picture instead of a U.S. soldier, on the other hand, this thread would be full of applause for crude generalizations.

That, for me, is Rawls’ point - reflecting our self-constructed pipeline of distortion regarding The Enemy by putting our own inside of it for a minute.

A point that escapes almost everyone here.

Oh. Ted. PS.

Religious fervor. As I mentioned about a month ago, my religion (R. Cath) does not condone most military actions. There is a conflict between being Christian and being in the military, but not a brick wall. Please learn about SGT York for further details.

It’s not "most" military actions. Your religious institutions allow you to be in the military because they’re compromised by expediency, but your religion doesn’t.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
SDN: Of course I’ve read the Koran — and some of the Hadiths, and a lot of scholars debating Islam. The best conservative scholar is Bernard Lewis (though like many with an historical perspective I think he imagines too much of the past to be in the present situation, and doesn’t see some of the unique, modern factors) and the best book, though by a journalist, in favor of liberal Islam is Reza Aslan’s book No God but God.

BTW, note that it matters which translation of the Koran you read; the Arabic can be translated in radically different ways in some cases.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Exactly what we find so scary about suicide bombers is their willingness to die for a cause.
It’s not the willingness of suicide bomber to die for a cause that’s scary...it’s their willingness to murder a multitude of non-combatants for their cause. Funny that you didn’t see the distinction.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Exactly what we find so scary about suicide bombers is their willingness to die for a cause. We take that willingness and translate it into some sort of universal, continentally-wide imperviousness to rationality.
The exaqct difference you all miss.

Yes, many in the military (and loads who aren’t) are willing to die for their country, the cause... They are willing, but would very much rather not, thank you.

Suicide bombers want to die.

Now, in 100 words or less, Erb or Glassy, please explain how you aren’t able to grasp the difference between those two concepts...
you put an Iraqi insurgent in this picture instead of a U.S. soldier, on the other hand, this thread would be full of applause for crude generalizations.
Quite right...

Because often those insurgents are actual suicide bombers, with explosive laden vests/cars and every thing...

To suggest they are just exactly like a soldier - any soldier - is to insult every single person who’s willing to defend the very freedom you use to insult them.

Great plan there, chief...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Scott, most extremists are not suicide bombers; most do not want to die. However, how many people would choose death if they thought it meant the mission more likely to succeed, if they thought they could save their country. What if the Soviets had occupied the US, and you were part of a core fighting against Communist occupation. If you thought that a suicide mission would make a difference, you might do it. Even if you wouldn’t, many people would. They see it as necessary to defend their people, so they see it as an act of sacrifice for the good of their families. Many acts of heroism involve someone doing something sure to lead to death in order to serve the higher good.

There are very good academic works coming out now about suicide bombers and how they think. It’s far more complex than you seem to believe, and it involves a (in my view misplaced) sense of honor and altruism. They are driven by what drives the most noble in all of us, even if that drive is bent to purposes of evil.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Steverino: no it’s their willingness to day that is scary. The willingness to kill innocents is common — witness Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But the pilot of Enola Gay have been so willing if he knew he’d be caught in the nuclear explosion? Here’s some more good lyrics.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Steverino: no it’s their willingness to day that is scary. The willingness to kill innocents is common — witness Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But the pilot of Enola Gay have been so willing if he knew he’d be caught in the nuclear explosion?
So, there were no military targets in Hiroshima or Nagasaki?

For the record, Japan had declared war against the US. You might remember how that was done. There’s no parallel between Hiroshima/Nagasaki and terrorist activities today.

I’d bet you dollars to doughnut holes that any American pilot of the era would have gladly given his life if he’d known it would have ended WWII.

But I repeat my point (mainly because your comparison really doesn’t refute what I said): it is the willingness of Islamic fanatics to kill innocents randomly that makes them so scary. The fact that they sacrifice their lives to do so isn’t nearly as frightening.

(pssst...is anyone else sickened by Erb’s lastest post?)

 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Now I know of Ted Rail.
 
Written By: VRB
URL: http://hathor-sekhmet.blogspot.com
Terrorism is another form of war; terrorism is a strategy of the weak, chosen when they cannot compete in traditional military terms, especially if they do not have a state. Killing hundreds of thousands of civilians ’because the city had military targets’ isn’t any better a rationalization that ’the WTC is the center of American capitalism which exploits the region.’ Terrorists are motivated much like soldiers in any war, but their strategy is different, and they aren’t given the legitimacy that state representation gives them. The sooner we understand this fact, the better we’ll be at counter-terrorism.

Kill randomly? Like the fire bombing of Koeln, Dresden and Tokyo? Like carpet bombing? Or does the fact a military target "is there somewhere" suddenly rationalize all innocent death? And how different is that than having a strategy which uses fear and terror to achieve political results. It’s deadly force being used to achieve political results in both cases. The comparison fits. This has long been recognized by scholars of terrorism and counter-terrorism, who realize you have to understand terrorism as it is to work to defeat terror organizations or have effective counter-terrorism. Slogans and emotion are good for politicians, but they aren’t reality.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Well Professor, it’s been established that almost every man and woman and child would have fought an invasion by the Allies, so the population of two cities is actually less than what we’d have killed by way of a conventionall landing and invasion...

Not to mention that zero US troops died by way of those bombings, compared to the countless soldiers who would have died...

But I suppose you just don’t give a f*ck about that, do you. It’s all about how we’re the bad guys.

I don’t know how you can stand to be a citizen here.

Tell you what... I understand that Canada loves your type. I’ll start a fund to help you move. How’s that sound, eh?
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
"I don’t know how you can stand to be a citizen here."
Mr. Jacobs, Professor Erb is not exactly a citizen here. He will not, and will not allow his offspring to, serve in the military to defend this country. So, one might say, he is not really a citizen of this country. When the hue and cry goes up that the community is threatened, rather than grabbing his rifle and running to join the militia, he will be found preparing a feast for the intruders and offering to trade hidden resources to assure his safety. He is like a non-resident alien, so to speak.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Terrorism is another form of war; terrorism is a strategy of the weak, chosen when they cannot compete in traditional military terms, especially if they do not have a state.

No. Terror is a tactic designed to seperate populations, proscribe contact, and it works both within the attacked population and the population the terrorists claim to represent. To say it is forced upoin the aggressor by their relative weakness is a misunderstanding - suicide bombings are the most effective of terror attacks by weak aggressors, but a weak aggressor could use other tactics.
Kill randomly? Like the fire bombing of Koeln, Dresden and Tokyo? Like carpet bombing? Or does the fact a military target "is there somewhere" suddenly rationalize all innocent death? And how different is that than having a strategy which uses fear and terror to achieve political results. It’s deadly force being used to achieve political results in both cases. The comparison fits.
No. Massive attacks are not the same as terror attacks. Terror attacks are designed to elicit terror (hence the name). Massed air attacks were designed to kill/maim and any terror realised was simply a minor by-product. The political function played a minor part.

For a more modern comparison witness what the attacks by Al Qaeda on 911 did do and compare with what a massed pre-emptive ICBM strike by the USSR on the Mid-Western missile silos and coastal naval facilities would have meant. If Scott Erb suggests these would be comparable actions that both merely seek to convey a political message, he is surely wrong.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
And, I might add, instead of proudly proclaiming his position on military service, he seldom mentions it and instead, claims to care about this country and claims the rights of every other citizen who is willing to risk their life and the lives of their loved ones in military service in its defense.

Do I grant him the same rights as those who have earned them?









 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
Unaha, you miss my point of comparison: terrorism and fire bombings are different strategies. Fire bombings were designed to elicit terror, to be sure. There was plenty of evidence that it wasn’t going to do much military damage, the hope was that the public would be demoralized and stop supporting the war. So both strategies do have a "terrorize the public" dimension to them.

Terrorism isn’t "forced on" someone, but is a rational (if immoral) choice for a group that believes it is suffering a horrid injustice, and has to come up with a way to defeat a much larger military force. If that larger force cannnot be defeated with traditional military means, it is rational to figure out a way to use the weaknesses of that enemy against it — and terrorism is an effort to do just that. The rationality of a terrorist strategy MUST be recognized by anyone wanting to devise a good counter-terrorism strategy. Terrorists are, in their minds, soldiers fighting for a just cause. They are not insane, they are not cowards, and their motives are the same as those of most soldiers fighting for "god and country."

Scott J.: Nobody is supporting the terrorists here, you either aren’t reading very carefully (and reading comprehension is a problem for today’s students, so if my theory that you are very young is correct, you need to read more carefully and not lash out) or letting emotion take you off course. The goal is to understand what is happeing and who the enemy is/how the enemy thinks. If we try to prevent that by painting a kind of "they are just evil and irrational and so different from us in their motives and actions — and anyone who denies it should be simply attacked," that would be like a child sticking his fingers in his ears and saying "lalalalalalalala." To build a counter-terrorism strategy we must confront reality. Too much of the post-9-11 and especially Iraq strategy has been based on theory which has turned out to be false, and emotion, which has misled. As a people we have to come together and really think about where we go from here — and not just label the other side ’not PC’ and attack.

Notherbob, I have a very traditional libertarian view on the military. It should be to defend the country and in minimal cases aid allies in defensive action. Our current military is not primarily defensive and acts like a traditional "great power" or "superpower." You can certainly disagree with that point of view, but you are (as is your wont) clearly misrepresenting me: I am not against defense of the homeland by me or any member of my family. I’ve got a libertarian perspective on foreign policy. I understand that is contrary to the Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, and Neo-libertarians. And while I respect those views, I’ll certainly defend mine.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
PS - I should add that Keith and others make very good points about expanding the use of military in ways that spread freedom or serve humanitarian needs. I’m sympathetic as anyone who studies Rwanda or Cambodia is — someone should have done something. Reading Dallaire’s book Shake Hands with the Devil, the story of a soldier trying to somehow stem the violence, leading the UN force abandoned by the rest of the world is a strong argument against libertarian isolationism. I’m still skeptical; the danger of intervening in ways that do more harm than good, and at best we should be proactive in doing things that prevent a situation from disintegrating. But if there is shared burden sharing and pretty much universal agreement that something has to be done, I’d probably support humanitarian intervention; again, Rwanda is a case that is very compelling to me. So my libertarian foreign policy perspective is something I constantly question too — but I don’t change my views without really arguing things through and being sure that I should change.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott J.: Nobody is supporting the terrorists here, you either aren’t reading very carefully (and reading comprehension is a problem for today’s students, so if my theory that you are very young is correct, you need to read more carefully and not lash out) or letting emotion take you off course. The goal is to understand what is happeing and who the enemy is/how the enemy thinks. If we try to prevent that by painting a kind of "they are just evil and irrational and so different from us in their motives and actions — and anyone who denies it should be simply attacked," that would be like a child sticking his fingers in his ears and saying "lalalalalalalala." To build a counter-terrorism strategy we must confront reality. Too much of the post-9-11 and especially Iraq strategy has been based on theory which has turned out to be false, and emotion, which has misled. As a people we have to come together and really think about where we go from here — and not just label the other side ’not PC’ and attack.
You aren’t saying you support them, but you sure as f*ck are doing your best to set them and our troops on the exact same level. Either you support the terrorists, or you hate our troops.

I’d thought that I was being charitable, but perhaps that was a mistake.

As for my age, bubba, I’m 28, hitting 29 on the 19th.

We are saying "are just evil and irrational and so different from us in their motives and actions", because they are. They want you dead. They don’t care that you "understand" their struggle, they don’t care that you feel for them.

They just want to kill you.

For a man of supposed higher learning, you seem to utterly fail to grasp that concept.

What is happeing: They are trying to take over a country with government that more or less has the support of the populace.

Who the enemy is: That’s a hard one to figure out. That’s why civillians get hurt, because the bad guys like to hide among the good guys. Usually, though, I tend to label as "Enemy" folks who "Want to kill me just because I don’t worship as they do". I know, I’m a horrible person...

How the enemy thinks: ’Kill every single person that does not believe what I believe.’ Might be a bit simplistic, but it’s fairly close...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Scott, where do I begin to correct your errors. You are caricaturing the terrorists and that makes it easy to under estimate them and not understand their appeal — and how to counter it. You seem to think that suddenly a whole bunch of irrational people rose up in a part of the world with a hatred for America, as if it were something in the water they drink. There are reasons for this. They think they are at war. They think it is a just war, and they are using a very rational strategy for fighting it. If you can’t understand that, then you don’t grasp the danger facing the West or moderates in the Mideast one bit. You put it in some kind of "we are good and moral and they are irrational and evil" simplistic way of feeling good and ignore the real problems. No, they don’t want to kill me or you any more that the pilot of Enola Gay wanted to kill all those dead at Hiroshima. They want western influence out of the region. If killing us is a way to achieve that, they will. Moreover, if we play our cards right, we can undercut terrorist recruitment and support moderates in the region and play a positive role to help the region modernize. Get out of the emotional talk radio mentality, know that the only way to overcome terrorism is to get out of the mentality that makes it "not PC" to try to understand what is going on, and get into the details and face hard dilemmas. That’s not easy. But otherwise we may get sucked into a conflict that expands because we don’t understand what we’re up against.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott Erb,
Terrorism isn’t "forced on" someone, but is a rational (if immoral) choice for a group that believes it is suffering a horrid injustice, and has to come up with a way to defeat a much larger military force. If that larger force cannnot be defeated with traditional military means, it is rational to figure out a way to use the weaknesses of that enemy against it — and terrorism is an effort to do just that. The rationality of a terrorist strategy MUST be recognized by anyone wanting to devise a good counter-terrorism strategy.
The only rational use of terror is to seek to seperate populations, because that is the effect it achieves. Rationality deals in effects, not aims.

Using the rational expectation - a perceived injustice could be remedied by a weak aggressor targeting the source of the injustice with a terror campaign and seeking to cull that group from the sympathies of everybody else. However it does not follow that because terror could be used in this manner that terror always is.

The evidence contradicts Al Qaeda fighting injustice as Al Qaeda does not seek to cull any one group. Al Qaeda has attacked or offered support to the attacks on New Yorkers, Londoners, Spaniards, Thai rubber tappers, Shia Arabs, Russians, the Fur, foriegn workers in Saudi, Aussies in Bali, Kurds, Harza in Afghanistan, Jews, Chinese, Persians, Ethiopians, Egyptian Copts and I am sure I have missed some others. From this and applying the rational for using terrorism it is easy to see that they are supremacist group attacking everyone not adhering to their believed ideals, seeking to cull the supreme few from the many. Within this context of them holding mad supremacist ideals they do act rationally.

The way to defeat a supremacist group is to attack their interests and wean away their support. They need to be convinced their belief in their own superiority is ill founded. No concession can be offered, anymore than a black man could appease the KKK.


PS - There is evidence that the firebombings were very good at leveling cities and killing people, that this was effective at harming the Axis powers. If someone hoped to achieve a political outcome they were asking a lot of the German/Japanese populations who had no power to act, a forlorn hope.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
I agree that we can’t negotiate with or in any way appease or make a deal with al qaeda. They are indeed not like the IRA or even the PLO. They are hard cores, they will either be killed or rendered irrelevant. The key is with their ’raw materials’ — the youth of the Mideast, a fast growing demographic as these countries are very young, and the youth lack a lot of hope and opportunity. That makes them susceptible to fascist and extremist recruitment, and that is where this will be won or lost.

Al qaeda perceives itself as fighting to protect Islamic identity from the West and modern influences. It sees corrupt regimes like the Saudi Royal family, or socialist regimes like the Baath party, as simply promoting un-Islamic ideals. The al qaeda form of Islam is really fascism; it is not what Islam truly means or is understood by most Muslims to mean. I think Al Qaeda would much prefer downing the Saudi royal family than hitting the US, and the reason we became a target was because of our influence and support of corrupt governments (for Osama the stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia was the straw that broke the camel’s back). So how do you rid the region of western influences and protect (their conception) of Islam? Easy: bring down the western economy. Now that’s easier said than done, but Osama knows business and economics, he knows that oil is our achilles’ heel, and that our economy in general is the source of our power. If terrorism can somehow achieve that goal of hurting or even causing collapse of the western economy, it’s a rational strategy (of course, all he has to do is believe it can achieve that — something can be rational but in error).

So terrorism is a rational strategy for otherwise weak fascist (or supremicist) movements to adopt. So in general we seem pretty much in agreement, I think.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Al qaeda perceives itself as fighting to protect Islamic identity...
If we stop right there I almost agree, prefer to say they fight to enforce an Islamic identity. Nothing to do with the West or modernity - Thai rubber tappers, western China and Fur are not "modern" or Western, but are actively victimised by Al Qaeda.
It sees corrupt regimes like the Saudi Royal family, or socialist regimes like the Baath party, as simply promoting un-Islamic ideals. The al qaeda form of Islam is really fascism; it is not what Islam truly means or is understood by most Muslims to mean. I think Al Qaeda would much prefer downing the Saudi royal family than hitting the US, and the reason we became a target was because of our influence and support of corrupt governments (for Osama the stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia was the straw that broke the camel’s back). So how do you rid the region of western influences and protect (their conception) of Islam? Easy: bring down the western economy.
This seems to exceptionalise the West when attacks are occuring elsewhere.

However the crucial flaw is - how would you destroy the House of Saud and the Western economy if you were an armed Arab group with thousands of committed fighters and were expert in committing coordinated bombing campaigns? If only there were some vital commodity crucial to the success of both that could be disrupted by a coordinated bombing campaign and was easily accessible to the majority of your fighters - hint: oil. The fact that this has not been attacked suggests this premise is seriously flawed. Either they are behaving irrationally or they are not motivated by a gievance against the West and the Arab regimes.

I believe Al Qaeda are a supremacist group who view the populations of greater Arabia and the rest of the Sunni Islamic world as possible recruits to their Islamic theology and this is why they attack targets outside of this group. Thus they isolate this group by making all the rest us on the planet apprehensive of Islamic people and perversely elevate themselves within the Muslim world as the only active defenders of Muslims. Preverse though it is this might work.

 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
"...you are (as is your wont) clearly misrepresenting me: I am not against defense of the homeland by me or any member of my family."
I see that you have sensed the weakness of your prior clearly-stated position that neither you nor any of your children would ever serve in the horrid military. You have no doubt polished up some sophistry designed to eliminate the problem presented by your past statements on this subject here on QandO. So be it.

So now you wish to be considered a patriot. That claim is as worthy as most of the others you present.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
No, notherbob, I do not consider myself "a patriot." I’m a humanist and individualist, I don’t put the "state" on a pedestal.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Unaha: I think the sabotage on Iraqi pipelines which has limited Iraqi oil production has been a fundamental goal of al qaeda, and exploration and development of Iraqi oil fields has been virtually nil. Moreover, I do expect that they will launch a major attack on Mideast oil facilities when they can; that is the fear of the Saudi government as well. At this time, they see that in Iraq they can stretch the US military to the breaking point, divide the American public, cost the US economy hundreds of billions, and create real divisions within the West (esp. between Europe and the US) and a very, very small price to themselves. For all the claims that al qaeda is being killed in Iraq, the numbers are pitifully small and usually represent people who otherwise couldn’t be in the fight. And, while oil is a weakness, terror attacks themselves can weaken the country and its economy. So I think oil is a main target, but not their only target.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I think the sabotage on Iraqi pipelines which has limited Iraqi oil production has been a fundamental goal of al qaeda, and exploration and development of Iraqi oil fields has been virtually nil.
That would be Iraq governed by an American (infidel), Shia (deviant) and Kurdish (racially inferior) regime.
Moreover, I do expect that they will launch a major attack on Mideast oil facilities when they can; that is the fear of the Saudi government as well.
They are in the process of supporting a genocide in western Sudan, rebellion in Chechnya, civil war in Iraq, ditto Afghanistan - please explain the reason you think it poses a logistical issue to attack some of the 1000s of miles of ungaurded oil pipeline in Arabia. The fact is there is no significant logistical issue against doing so, the reason for not doing so must therefore be more fundamental to their strategy.
At this time, they see that in Iraq they can stretch the US military to the breaking point, divide the American public, cost the US economy hundreds of billions, and create real divisions within the West (esp. between Europe and the US) and a very, very small price to themselves.
American exceptionalism when it really is not about America.
And, while oil is a weakness, terror attacks themselves can weaken the country and its economy.
No they do not, please see McQs post above - the economy is booming.
So I think oil is a main target, but not their only target.
I think if it is not being attacked it is not a target at all.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
glasnost;
A. The problem isn’t that there is an inherent imperviousness to rationality among people in the Middle East or converts to Islam along the edges of its territory. It’s that there is a cultural history of making rationality secondary in favor of maintaining percieved family honor (which most likely began independant of Islam). This trait has been expanded upon, both by religious extremists and those wanting purely secular power, to the point that a huge amount of the populace, both in the region and among the newly converted recruited out of dissatisfaction, are taught to ignore rationalism in all political and social issues, whether it involves their own family clan or even nation. The large amount of pro-reform middle class in Iran shows that the irrationality is not all-encompassing, its government proves that it doesn’t need to be to spread terrorism.
B. My religion allows me to serve. Sorry you don’t understand that the institution founded by Christ is a part of my religion.

Scott;
- I admit that none of us can completely gauge what the others know. All we know of each other is what is posted here, while we each have a better understanding of our own knowledge. There have been a number of facts dead wrong in some of your posts and your Iraq case study, but I’m sure that’s not the sum total of your knowledge. In part, that statement was made in an attempt to let you understand how insulting it was for someone to claim Rall actually had a valid point, as opposed to an unsubstantiated opinion that could be used in a demonstration.
- My serving in the field not only allows me a particular perspective, it also allows me a much better filter on information sources since I can compare actual events to the reporting. Of course, a few years at US Central Command HQ doesn’t hurt either. Even without being a senior staffer, between the mandatory regional briefings, access to the same classified information as most Senators, and traveling with senior personnel gave me a decent perspective on several levels. The only reason I bring this up is to let you know that while most troops don’t have the same amount of information as a Senator, by the time they have a few years in the service and an overseas tour, they usually have a better grasp of the Middle East than what is expressed by many Senators. Whether this is due to weak analysis on the part of the Senator or just politics, who knows.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Scott Erb,

Do you read the LA Times?
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://
Ted, the point is that your position also biases you — the way you interpret information is not just based on perception, but what you decide events, reporting, or the situation entails. Being in the military, or being a reporter, or being a scholar, or being conservative or whatever always creates different biases on how information is interpreted. Also, if I get something wrong, please let me know. It’s not very persausive to just say "you are wrong" and leave it at that.

I do think that there is a very real similarity between what drives many terrorists and many soldiers, they believe they are fighting for a just cause against a dangerous enemy, they believe they are doing it for their people and family, they believe it is honorable and are willing to die for the cause. Now, the specifics of the cartoon can’t get into all the issues, but making the comparison is valid. Moreover, the point is not to denigrate soldiers, but to recognize that simply dismissing terrorists as somehow irrational and evil is misleading; they do evil deeds, but just as in war a nuclear blast killing over a hundred thousand can be justified by the need to defeat an enemy, so can terror attacks. We have to understand that if we are to have an effective counter-terrorism strategy.

It may be true that soldiers in some cases have a better grasp on "the middle east" than many politicians, though I find it doubtful that their understanding surpasses that of foreign policy experts like Senator Lugar. The middle east is complex and diverse, and a soldier only experiences a portion of it, and from a particular perspective (e.g., not just roaming freely and observing). I think experts on the Middle East — people who study its history, know intimately the role of Islam, the teachings, the differences between Shi’ite and Sunni (and how it’s different than the way we usually consider religious difference), the kinds of issues, the fundamental importance of the Israeli-Palestinian issue in how Arabs interpret all events, and the complexity of economic and political reform have the most insight. For the most part these experts opposed going to war in 2003, warning of the kinds of things that could go wrong (and a number of Generals did too — it’s pretty amazing how many retired generals spoke out strongly against the Administration). These people were, unfortunately, not listened to by politicians who believed Iraq would quickly recover, be stable, a model for the region, and paying for reconstruction with oil revenues.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
The cartoon attempted to compare traits, not motivations, making the cartoon’s point invalid.
Anyone with some moral fiber is willing to risk their life for something. Being male is irrelevent, religious fervor just plain doesn’t apply to soldiers. The point is the traits in the cartoon that seperate terrorists from decent society (poor education, blind obedience, etc.) apply to you far better than they apply soldiers.

Just to scratch the surface of wrong information you’ve been putting out-
From your Iraq case study:
1: You suggest that sanctions might have sufficed to get Iraq to leave Kuwait without military force. If anyone believed that at the time, there’s 16 years of evidence of Saddam’s respect for sanctions.
2: You claim Iraq surrendered Kuwait before the cease-fire agreement. A hasty retreat is not the same as giving up their claim to Kuwait. Only with the signing of the cease-fire did was there any acknowledgement that it was not rightfully a province of Iraq. It’s not like they walked away peacefully.
3: The Iraqis made repeated, substatial violations of the cease-fire agreement over 16 years, but that’s not mentioned as a possible cause or justification for OIF.

You’ve also claimed that Al-qaida would never work with Saddam because of his secularism. This ignores two very basic points. First, AQ does not just want purity among Muslims, they also want Islamic purity, making any group that comes into contact Muslims without being subjected by them an enemy. Second, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" applies widely throughout Islam and the Middle East. Anything that may help them achieve their goals is an option.

 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://

 
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