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February 04, 2006


What Muslim allies? These so-called allies are only appeasing us because they want something from us. They hate our guts. In Egypt, the government controlled press spews hate towards America. Libya is not our ally but justs wants sanctions removed. I could go on.

Islam is a supremacist political ideology that sees non-Muslims as less than human. Stop by and learn about the problem.

"What allies?"

Afghanistan and Iraq come to mind.

"They hate our guts. In Egypt, the government controlled press spews hate towards America.."

Therefore, your plan for winning the war on terror is to spew hate back at all one billion Muslims, whether they help us in the war on terror or not?

I’m for facing the facts. If the facts are painful so be it. Let’s not fool ourselves. You don’t see them trying to win our hearts and minds. Far from it!

We give Egypt $2 billion a year, give Hamas control of Gaza, help the Afghanis to defeat the USSR and when they paid us back on 9/11 we’re helping them some more. We helped Egypt get back the Sinai, Kuwait kick out Saddam, and protected Saudi Arabia from a similar fate. We helped the Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia. We’ve criticized Russia on Chechnya. And we (along with the other G8 nations) have decided to fund the terrorists in the West Bank. Now we are building a shiny new nation on the Tigris and Euphrates.

They not only hate us but they hold us in contempt because we grovel for their love. We’ve been helping them for decades and it has only backfired. It only makes us look weak and pathetic in their eyes. If we stopped helping and appeasing them, that would shock them into an awareness that we aren’t suckers anymore. I suggest reading about their ideology to understand their mindset. Please, it’s four years after 9/11 and people are still ignorant about Islam. Here are a few references.

Sorry, Jason, I’m with Gina on this. And I know plenty of Muslims who are sympathetic toward the war on terror, or at least the rationale behind it. I am not sure if it is as much of a “by the book” religion as we might think. Here in New Zealand, Islamic and Jewish groups work pretty closely on minority affairs, jointly condemning some actions by a few white supremacist groups.
   So why does it dislike the United States? I am generalizing but I think it is tied to what they see as hypocrisy, and that might be due to a misunderstanding of US intent, or even propaganda against the United States through certain groups.
   The US’s highest profile in recent times was probably after World War II—but the idea of freedom and the country’s commitment of so many troops to fight Fascism were positively viewed. Today, however, speaking as a foreigner dealing with American firms, I see slogan after slogan—but fewer people willing to live up to them (especially on the coasts).
   I’m afraid that prompts us to laugh in a bittersweet way at Enron, or the Wall Street obsession with quarterly results, or sweat-shops financed by American operations—and conveniently ignore the gains on this planet made by American initiatives. Or the work that is done every day by decent, value-filled Americans who operate honourably. Why? Because the MSM—usually American MSM—keep reinforcing the negative. Now we see the European MSM behave in a similar way.
   If I keep getting negative images of the US while living in a western country (albeit with a liberal government), I can only imagine how many times worse it is in the Middle East, despite the efforts of satellite channels such as Al-Arabiya.
   They do have a point. In the 15 years I have done business there, a lot has changed: from a desire to cooperate, to an “our way or no way” mentality from an increasing number.
   At a very basic level, American freedom is about innocent till proven guilty. That flies in the face of some of my Arab American friends being asked to leave a New Jersey café because they had a newspaper with Arabic script.
   Like Islam, like anything, we are all ambassadors of our nation. Islam has its faults, because some of its most visible proponents shown in the west are our enemies. America has its faults, too, and that comes from a very distinct chasm between the President’s wishes and how the MSM portray them and this administration’s policies. The more Muslims see of this, the more they will be opposed to the US—and these cartoons do nothing to reverse their impressions of the United States and the west as tyrannical crusaders.
   One point where I would agree with you is that there needs to be a two-way street on this: calling for the head of the cartoonist, for example, isn’t healthy. Nor is the “we are the victims” approach that some have adopted, because that suggests an unwillingness to enter into a dialogue.
   We might be calling for an understanding of Islam, but I sure hope influential Islamic leaders are calling for an understanding of the west.

Sorry, Jack, I find your moral equivalence applauding.

Sorry, Jack, I find your moral equivalence appalling. (sorry for the typo.)

We’ll just have to disagree (I liked your earlier response better!). So you don’t think both sides are acting on misguided views of one another instead of resorting to dialogue? By no means do I equate American commercial behaviour with Islamic violence—I am merely illustrating that it is not impossible to come up with a negative view, if the influences around you reinforce that. In some people’s case that negative view is mild and no reason for violence. In the case of the Muslims, the view is far from mild and incites violence.

Jack, I think you are dead wrong on this.

You're basically absolving the Muslim extremists of responsibility because the MSM makes us look bad and some people/companies from the US you've dealt with have been hardcore (summary of your points).Oh yeah, and you can point to a few isolated incidents of prejudice.

It's funny you hold America to a much higher standard than the rest of the world in this case (particularly Muslim countries), and use us not living up to them as a justification for the dissatisfaction of the Muslim street.

Jason enumerated many ways we have helped Muslim countries; I've worked many places where Jews, Christians and Western Muslims have worked well together. That is the norm; it happens because of America and its freedoms and tolerance. It's not something usually found in Middle Eastern countries, however. What does that mean? I'll defend freedom- of the press, of speech- because I've experienced our system work.

Gina- you are wrong too. Muslims didn't do anything to 'deserve' this, just as I, as a Christian, didn't 'deserve' to have an artist dip a depiction of Christ in urine, or I, personally as an American, didn't do anything to 'deserve' having my flag burned. My reaction to something that is offensive is something I choose; it doesn't mean my religion or belief is any less important to me than theirs, simply because I am not ready to go out into the street and burn things and threaten people's lives when I feel disaffected.

The reaction to these cartoons- threatening death and beheadings, is just out of line.

Exaggeration, hyperbole, satire and even mockery are all literary tools used to make a point. I may not like them, and I may disagree with the sentiments behind them (even when it touches something deeply personal to me, like my country or my God), I may even get privately angry, but I won't tell you that you can't say it, and I certainly am not going to threaten you with a grisly death.

Once people see you are pliable in certain areas- freedoms for example- people push to see how far you will go. It's a dangerous precedent to set.

I do think that muting a liberty- in order to not risk a hysterical and irrational response- is appeasement. Do you think the Middle Eastern 'street' will *ever* completely join the war on terror? There will always be some misstep that will be made that a group won't like and will protest. It's a silly road to go on. The lines will be drawn and redrawn and where will it end? The Muslim community in Britian is lobbying for their own court system to deal with sharia offences! You can't keep making exceptions and tweaking; it's too slippery a slope.

I'm sorry Muslims were offended; I know what it feels like to see something and have anger well inside of you because it touches a nerve (Ted Rall and his horrible cartoon about Tillman's death come to mind).

I'll avoid him, boycott him, dissaude people from supporting him, pray for his downfall and mock him myself but I'm not looking for his head on a pike. I think fortune/fate/kismet will deal with whatever he's done that's disgraceful. He said more horrible things about himself with those drawings and exposed the rank depth of his soul more clearly than I ever could.

Hi Hanya,

I enjoyed reading your thoughtful comments.

Your first major point was that Christians also don't deserve to have their religion mocked either, but they don't threaten to kill anyone over it. True. It's a given that the Islamic terrorists are both nuts and terribly evil. That's not my point. I'm not advocating restraint for their benefit. I'm advocating restraint for OUR benefit.

Second, you also argued that "once people see you are pliable in certain areas - freedoms for example - people push to see how far you will go. It's a dangerous precedent to set." You also argued that "muting a liberty- in order to not risk a hysterical and irrational response - is appeasement."

I agree with you that if you "let people push you" you will just get pushed more. But you also need to choose your battles. I'd much rather go out of my way to start a war over, say, suicide bombings in Israel, than start a war over mocking Islam's prophet. In one case, if I win the war, I've really gained something -- an ally of the U.S. no longer is in peril and constantly having its citizens murdered. In the other case, if I start a war over the right to depict their prophet on toilet paper, what have I gained even if I win? Nothing but the freedom to be as offensive as Ted Rail, or more so. It's not worth of us to fight a war over our right to engage in petty insults of other people's religious beliefs.

What I have advocated is self-restraint from people who are now going out of their way to, for example, publish on the internet pictures of Mohammed on toilet paper. It accomplishes nothing productive, it doesn't advance our position in the war on terror one iota, and it as actually counterproductive both in motivating our enemies and insulting our Muslim allies.

You argue that "There will always be some misstep that will be made that a group won't like and will protest. It's a silly road to go on. The lines will be drawn and redrawn and where will it end?"

I realize that radical Islam can't be appeased. No matter what we do or fail to do, there will always be something. I'm not advocating that we try. But gratuitous insults of the enemy's religion are just pointless and counterproductive. It gives the terrorists a stronger rallying cry without gaining us any ground, and it insults our Muslim allies, making it hard for them to stand with us. Why alienate all 1 billion Muslims on earth, when all we have to do to win the war on terror is to defeat the terrorists and those who help them, which is a much smaller number?

As a litigation attorney, I try not to do things that don't improve my chances of winning and actually make it harder to win. Going out of your way to enrage your adversary is not how you win a lawsuit. All that does is make the adversary more motivated. In litigation, you win by persuading the judge or jury.

In the war on terror, we will win by two means: (a) by having military might and the will to use it when appropriate, and (b) by winning over enough allies in the war on terror -- some by persuasion, some by force like Afghanistan and Iraq -- until terrorists are ultimately in the tiny, tiny minority and no longer a real threat. As you can see, insulting the Muslim religion doesn't advance victory in either way. It's a useless side diversion and a counterproductive one, because we are jeopardizing the goodwill we have built with Muslim allies starting with Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait and continuing to Pakistan, where the people hate America but at least we have an alliance with the government for the moment -- one that we don't need to go out of our way to gratuitously undermine.

So I agree with most of what you said, but I still think it's strategically unwise for the Western media and blogosphere to go out of their way to insult the Muslim religion. It's pointless and counterproductive, and it may cost us critical allies, which in turn could easily cost us billions more dollars and thousands more good soldiers' lives. Perhaps even some of our own citizen's lives on our own soil.

They want a religious war. We've told them that this isn't about their religion; it's about terrorism. Now too many in the West are making it a war about their right to ridicule someone else's religion. That's just dumb.

Finally, let's distinguish between having a right and whether it's wise to use that right.

We all have the right to eat nothing but oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day until we die of malnutrition. That doesn't mean it's a good idea.

I have the right to go to the home of every neighbor on my street and insult their religion. That doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Hi Hanya: I really respect your time and your analysis. I don’t absolve the extremists at all—my gosh, not in a million years. And I hope I made clear that any negative views of the US I stated are not equivalent at all to the actions of these extremists. They were merely examples of how prejudice can grow—without drawing any conclusion or comparison about their severity. Hate, after all, can grow from very small things that one might think are insignificant. Perhaps I was not clear, and judging by the two responses I have had to my comment, I apologize for my lack of clarity.
   I actually agree with many of your viewpoints. It is right for us in the west to live our values, and I also agree that calling for more violence as a reaction to these cartoons is completely wrong. Nothing can justify that.
   My viewpoint simply has been to leave people’s creeds out of it. I gave an example on my own blog that if I wanted to draw bin Laden with a bomb for a turban, then I would not have a problem with it. But when it gets into the inappropriate arena of someone’s faith, then as a publisher and as someone who trained as an attorney, I would draw the line.
   Stories such as Christ in urine—I remember that incident—disgust me no end, as did the cartoon about Pat Tillman. I have the same reaction as you in your final paragraph.
   As to the freedom of the press, by all means that should exist. I can even forgive, believe it or not, the original publication of these cartoons. One might say that the newspaper was ignorant of the fuss the images would cause. But republication—when we knew full well the images had caused offence? That seemed gratuitous and unnecessary, and I view it as a desperate act by newspapers whose circulations are declining. And I think we have all been suckered in by editors who are rubbing their hands in glee, saying, ‘A-ha! We still have influence!’
   I don’t think being pliable is the answer, either, but using our energies elsewhere is. The Islamic blogs I have read so far are making light of this issue, saying it is a waste of energy to protest, and that the protesters are wrong to act to such extremes. It seems to me that everyday people, regardless of faith, prefer dialogue to violence, and few associate themselves with the behaviour of extremists.
   Like Gina, I would rather pick better battles to fight to get our values across. The republication of these cartoons serve the agenda of the extremists when they already say the west is against Islam. It has actually put westerners at risk, and US troops. And after all the efforts that Jason, for example, pointed out.
   Giving money is one thing. Giving money and then giving the same people the bird when you think they are not looking is another. I am afraid these cartoons come into the second category, and I really don’t think that that is the sort of signal we want to send.

i think as much as the cartoons were bad, all the muslims proved to the world that they are all potential terrorist.them and osama are no different. all of the muslims are fundamentals and this event proved it. evil and hatred against the west is always in their hearts and any small thing brings it out. islam is a religion of war and i hope the west will not cow down to their threats or else they will make the terrorist feel like for them to send a point they have to be violent. why cant the muslims embrace dialogue?

I for one am amazed that no muslim orgaisation to date has done any protesting against all the terrorists that act in their name, if they were such a "religion of peace" where are the peace marches... I am sorry to sound cynical but the scales are not covering my eyes any longer. True muslims hate all non muslims, period.

Everybody - you are saying an awful lot of words to justify your beliefs. That's fine - but keep one thing in mind. Muslim fanatics and murderers want one thing and one thing only- a world ruled by Islam. And they will stop at nothing nor any atrocity or any lie to the Arab world to achieve their goal. Our job in the west is not to appease or justify or to plead for understanding - it's this simple - kill them or they will kill you. And don't let up until the job is done.

I'm afraid that the "moderates" are too few, if they really exist at all.

I agree that we shouldn't go flaunting our freedoms in the faces of irrational "Islambots," but as you know, this isn't about THOSE cartoons, it's about THESE:

see, also:

It's also about Jihad against civilization, because Islam and culture are incompatable. Period!

If we give in to their demands, they will make more demands. And each time we give in, the next uproar they make over their unmet demands will be greater. And the next will be greater still.

We must NOT be intimidated at all by their bullying. If they want to negotiate peacefully, fine. But I wouldn't look for that to happen anytime this millenium.

What I would look for is some pretext for war. If that happens, I am sure they will loose. But so will we. Still, the more we give, the more damage they will do to us.

So, what I am saying is, don't play into their hands by taking their side on what you think is an issue, but is really just a tool to drive a wedge between segments of us, their enemy.


Let me respond to a few of your points:

1. "If we give in to their demands, they will make more demands. And each time we give in, the next uproar they make over their unmet demands will be greater. And the next will be greater still."

I don't care how loud their roaring is. I care whether they are right or not. I think it is reasonable to be offended by 12 caricatures of your prophet, some of which depict him as a mad bomber, especially when your religion forbids even showing the prophet. If their next protest is unreasonable (it probably will be, if history is any indication), then we won't do as they ask. I'm not worried about not being able to say "no" when the time is right. That doesn't mean we always have to say "no" even when they have a point.

2. "We must NOT be intimidated at all by their bullying. If they want to negotiate peacefully, fine. But I wouldn't look for that to happen anytime this millenium."

Who is "they" you are referring to? If you mean terrorists, no, we won't be intimidated and we hope to eliminate them from the face of the earth.

If you mean Muslims, here's a reminder: Muslims as a whole are not our enemy. There are 1 billion on earth, and most are peaceful.

3. "don't play into their hands by taking their side on what you think is an issue, but is really just a tool to drive a wedge between segments of us, their enemy."
And I say, don't play into their hands by making this into a religious crusade against Islam itself. Our enemy is terrorism and terrorists, not the prophet Mohammed.

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