What I believe

For several of my posts, there’s been a very vigorous exchange about American foreign policy. Just recently, one of my readers, who espouses what I would call a conservative viewpoint, commented about “fundamental truths” common to all people.  Another reader who, on foreign policy, is I think hostile to current Bush initiatives wrote this “I accept none of your ‘fundamental truths’, and disagree with the main point of every single one of your paragraphs. I don’t think there’s much point even arguing about them because we’d be at it for years and wouldn’t make any progress.”

I think that’s a great point.  That is, buried under every single argument, no matter the layers of facts, all of us have animating beliefs that function as our starting points for argument.  Regarding events in the Middle East (and, indeed, around the world), these are some of my fundamental beliefs, which affect everything I say and think:

I believe that, at this precise moment in time, American culture is more civilized and beneficent than Islamist culture.  (You’ll notice I was careful not to say Muslim, Islamic, Persian or Arab.  I’m comparing us to the radical Islamic movement cropping up in the new all over the world.)  I also believe that American values, which are grounded in Judeo-Christian doctrine, are better than the multiculturalist values that currently dominate Europe and that allow, I believe, fertile soil for the most hate-filled Islamists and the recent resurgence of aggressive anti-Semitism.

I believe that Islamists have declared war on us, dozens of times in the past 20 years, with the loudest declaration occuring on 9/11.  I believe we’d be suicidal idiots not to listen.  I believe that there is no meaningful negotiation available with someone whose end goal is your death or total subjugation — which is why I think the peace movement naive and misguided.

I believe that Israel absolutely, historically, morally, legally, whatever, has the right to exist unmolested by her neighbors.  I believe that her closest neighbors — the Palestinians — did not exist as a nation before 1948, and that the Arab nations in 1948 (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, etc), created the notion of a Palestianian nation state (when, before, there were merely Arab fellahins barely working land held by distant Arab overlords) to justify to the world the Arabs’ continued hostility to Israel; to play into the Marxist/Cold War desire for an imperialist enemy (Israel); and to detract their own citizens’ eyes from these nations’ overwhelming corruption and inequities.

Finally, I believe that I’ve got to get my kids up to go to the dentist, and I’ll follow with more later — if any more occurs tome.

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  • erp

    The best thing we can do is stay away from the media. My husband is getting very agitated about events as they unfold. I warn him he’s doing just what they want him to do. Believe their hype and get upset. I don’t really know what’s happening, but I’m pretty darn sure, it’s nothing like what’s on TV. Not even Fox News is believable since the sheik took over.

    As for basic sets of beliefs. The divide is between those of us who want free trade and a free people who are responsible for our own lives and those others who believe that people can’t take care of themselves and need “smarter” more “capable” people like them to give the great unwashed what they need and see that the are taken care of.

    This socialist inclination has progressed so far into insanity that that even in a response to aggression against them, Israel is faulted for an appropriate response. In other words, they should respond with no more force than was used against them. Fair’s far, you know.

    It’s actually hard for a person with normal reasoning ability to even grasp what the left is talking about.

  • http://www.cheatseekingmissiles.blogspot.com Laer

    I believe in all that Bookworm has so clearly said, but also believe that we face another great threat from the “godlessists” — i.e., the Chinese, the Russians and nations under their influence, like North Korea. An alliance of the Islamists and Godlessists is a much more formidable threat than the one we defeated in the Cold War, when it was just Godless Communism we defeated.

    And I believe that high-stakes, war-ending or -avoiding diplomacy is not effective without a large club and the perception of willingness to use it.

  • mamapajamas

    I agree with you, Book, but with one caveat: I think this problem in the Middle East actually started after WWI with the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. Every once in a while, I’ll get a hint from a terrorist communique or speech from one of the radical leaders in nations like Iran or Syria that this is about reunifying the Moslem world… including Andalusia (Spain!) which was lost to them in the 1490s… and then pushing onward to expand on what was. I think this has ALWAYS been a “let’s get back what we had and get even with them for breaking up our world”.

    Methods differ from sect to sect, logistics differe, and actual details of restarting the Empire differ, but the goal is the same: re-establish the Empire, and we’ll settle our differences later.

    My first inkling of this was during the Gulf War, during one of Saddam’s endless (at least 2 hours!) speeches. I actually sat through them as I was working nights and able to watch them on C-SPAN during the daytime when they were aired in full, and invariably came away with one conclusion:

    My God… that man thinks he’s Saladin!

    “Saladin” means Empire. Saladin was the general who invaded the old Holy Lands and completed the Ottoman Empire. Saddam’s primary speech theme, and the reason for his hostilities against his neighbors, was Reunification. He wanted the Empire back… with himself in charge, of course. How do I know that? It’s because that was what he said in his speeches. I’ll take his word for it. So did Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, etc etc etc. That was the main reason they were anxious for us to stop Saddam.

    So, whatever else anyone might think about how cruel a man he and his sons were, whatever focus might have been on WMDs, terrorists going through Iraq’s revolving doors, and whatever else, the main reason for invading Iraq had to have been Saddam’s intransigence after the Gulf War Cease Fire. He was failing to cooperate, and therefore had to be stopped once and for all. He was the one having the most success in pulling people together to reunite.

  • http://www.whyweworry.com Clint

    “I believe that her closest neighbors — the Palestinians — did not exist as a nation before 1948, and that the Arab nations in 1948 (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, etc), created the notion of a Palestianian nation state (when, before, there were merely Arab fellahins barely working land held by distant Arab overlords)”

    The question of whether or not Palestine existed as a “nation” legally/technically/whatever doesn’t really interest me. What’s important to me is this: 700,000 Arabs lived on that land and their homes were taken, they were terrorized, and they were driven out because that’s what the powers-that-be wanted. And, to this day, the Israelis oppress those peoples and refuse to comply with over 130 UN resolutions, most of which condemn Israel and urge them to respect the basic human rights of the Palestinians.

    To me, it’s like the issue with the Native Americans. It doesn’t matter whether or not the natives had “legal” rights to this land. Explorers and settlers came in, exploited the natives, and caused the deaths of millions of them. But I certainly don’t think that settlers “absolutely, historically, morally, legally” had the right to exist unmolested. Maybe legal, but how can you use law as a justification when the people who make the laws are the ones committing the crimes?

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    I’ve heard some misguided beliefs the Right, that while they hate the UN, they are too afraid of what the UN would do if they left the UN to go somewhere else. So those misguided people on the Right favors staying in the UN, just because they are afraid leaving would be worse. A rather case study of abusive relationships.

    But anyway, Clint brings up a good example when he talks about the 130 UN Resolutions. If Israel had left the UN, and if America had also left the UN to form a counter-group that Israel could join, then the obvious retort to those 130 UN Resolutions is to say “no taxation without representation”. To use an oldy.

    So this is why the US should leave the UN and also why the UN will be less likely to hurt America after we leave. We might have the veto, but that really doesn’t matter in public perception. The very act of consent of allowing the UN on American soil, damages the good reputation and trust of America.

    Getting back to the real subject of course, I posted a response in Book’s other thingie, to Clint. Here’s a link to the saved comment on my site, for easy reference. It is relevant to Book’s current topic, as well.

    http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/2006/07/fundamental-truths-deductive-logic.html

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    What I’d like to know, is why Clint believes in the stories about Israeli oppression, when it has been documented that there is a very large propaganda apparatus in Palestine designed to orchestrate atrocities and false stories.

    http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/2006/07/pallywood-video-of-proper-propaganda.html

    Go watch the video, and provide some explanations for why you believe Israel oppresses peope.

  • mamapajamas

    Clint, Ymarsaker gave an excellent rebuttal on your comment in his own blog. I think he hit the bottom line on that one.

    However, I would like to point out that your own “logic” is based upon a very fundamental error, the notion that “everybody knows” that the Jews came to Israel from Europe.

    That is a myth.

    Only SOME of the Jews in Israel were in Europe… or anywhere else for that matter.

    There have been thousands of Jewish families living in the Holy Lands since Moses. THAT is what keeps getting left out of the equasion.

    And when Israel was created in 1948, did they uproot their Moslem neighbors and demand that they leave? No. They were made citizens of Israel, and a large number of them are STILL Israeli citizens. You’d probably be shocked at the number of Moslems who have been elected to the Knesset, the Israel Parliament. You see, the Muslims who were living in the region that became Israel had no problem with having Jewish neighbors. The Jews had always been there, so why have a problem? When it comes to war, Israeli Muslims stand in the trenches with their Jewish cousins and fight for their country.

    What happened was that in 1948, virtually the minute Israel was created by the UN, her Arabic neighbors declared war. They made a general announcement that there would be a massive invasion from all sides, and that all Muslims needed to clear out of Israeli territory or they would be shot as Jews themselves. Some of them were so spooked by the idea that they actually left their homes.

    Clint… they ABANDONED their homes under a threat that they would be shot as Jews… by the Muslims who now claim that they support their cause. Their homes were NOT “taken away” by the Israelis, they were abandoned. And when the war was over and Israel was still standing whole, only those Israeli Muslims who risked all to fight for their new nation remained.

    Ever since, the Muslims who left Israel, for some unknown reason labeled “Palestinians” when Israel and all of Jordan were also parts of Palestine, have been homeless. For some reason, it was only the Israelis who were “responsible” for their homeless condition. Did any of the Arabic nations who were ACTUALLY responsible for the trajedy offer land for permanent homes for the refugees their armies spooked out of Israel? Of course not. It has been in their interest to keep the Palestinians shuffled from pillar to post in order to create a grievance against Israel.

    And that is the big, hairy error in your information. The Palestinians have the grievance that their homes were lost… but it happened after they ABANDONED them. But there is NO other legitimate grievance against Isreal vis a vis the Palestinians, and the suseeding of the Gaza region should have settled everything.

    The fact that it did not is proof that something else is afoot, and that “something else” is Empire.

  • mamapajamas

    Addendum: re: “The fact that it did not is proof that something else is afoot, and that “something else” is Empire.”

    Let me restate that as, “… and that in my opinion is Empire.”

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Clint:

    “The question of whether or not Palestine existed as a “nation” legally/technically/whatever doesn’t really interest me. What’s important to me is this: 700,000 Arabs lived on that land and their homes were taken, they were terrorized, and they were driven out because that’s what the powers-that-be wanted. And, to this day, the Israelis oppress those peoples and refuse to comply with over 130 UN resolutions, most of which condemn Israel and urge them to respect the basic human rights of the Palestinians.”

    See, this is where our fundamental beliefs differ, Clint. You’re spouting propaganda based on your beliefs. I’ll rebut that with history (in my Left sidebar, you can click on “Big Lies : Demolishing the Myths of the Propaganda War Against Israel), which you won’t believe, because it runs country to the story you bought that was put about by the Arab League from the late 1940s onward. That it doesn’t mesh at all with history is irrelevant, because it also doesn’t mesh with your belief system. I do wish, though, that I could tug you a little closer to historical fact, and a little further away from Arab nationalist fiction.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    I’ve studied methods of psychological re-education, bookworm. And in most cases, it requires an extreme psychological shock to make people change their minds, if not a consistent and high quality series of propaganda operations.

    Israel and America scores a -5 in terms of propaganda ability. And a -20 in terms of psychological shock impact. The government has zero ability to change minds. If I had the use of the Palestinian propaganda apparatus, seen in the video I linked on my blog, I could change the minds of people like Clint. Convincing people is easy, when you have the power and are willing to make use of that knowledge, which is power.

    There are organizations that have their goal to expose Palestinian error and delusion, but they are not backed by governments. Because they are not backed by governments, they are unable to reach into people’s hearts and squeeze with the might of a nation-state.

    The Arabs have learned much from their former Soviet paymasters. The Soviets were master propagandists, they were running circles around Western spy organizations. They had anti-American propaganda operations across the globe. Much of the propaganda apparatus the Soviets abandoned, was recovered by the Arabs. Akin to how their Kalashikonavs were distributed. The Anti-Israeli propaganda was par for the course, all these wars in Israel’s histories were proxy wars of America vs the Soviets. Because America didn’t want to start a nuclear war and neither did the Soviets, we sent in advisers to our respective clients and they killed and slaughtered each other on our behalf. Cruel, perhaps, but nonetheless we are still here and without a nuclear war. So something worked.

    Many people spout off about execution and torture, like DB, but they don’t know. They don’t know real torture. And while the antics of the terroists in Iraq may seem like the real deal, it still isn’t (they come probably the closest though). Because torture is the systemic breaking of a person’s spirit through psychological and physical torture, to the point that he gives up hope and ceases to have a will of his own. To this effect, pain and devastation must be affected with passionless embrace, a total lack of humanity. A total lack of the enjoyment of pain inflicted as well as the cries of the pitiful. Islamic Terroists enjoy inflicting pain too much to excel at torture. Their technique is crude, Arabic in nature, corrupt, and stained with rust. Cruelty is their nature, but the very fact that a subject knows you are enjoying inflicting pain on him, gives him a reason to resist. A complete breaking of the spirit requires a few things. No hope of escape, no possibility that the pain will end if the subject says or does anything to cooperate, and complete and utter unpredictability of what type of technique will be used and when it will arrive.

    The human mind is capable of horrors of imagination far worse than any inflicted by physical implements. When people talk about Abu Ghraib torture by national guardsmen and women, and when they talk about Bush torturing civilians in Iraq, not only do they not know what they are talking about but they also show their amateur credentials. How does someone form a lie in their mind when he is fed only apple juice for 4 weeks and kept in a sensory deprivation tank? Isn’t the often criticism of torture by amateurs that you can’t trust what someone says to end the pain? Why would I want someone to say something to end the pain, that’s not going in the first place you know.

    The Democrats and the Left in America and Israel have some ability at propaganda and manipulation, because they are populists. Populists descended from Greek demagogues, you can bet that they know how to move an audience. If you heard Bill Clinton speak at the 2004 convention, he was quite moving, in my view. And I knew him for what he is, yet his words still stirred emotions of inspiration within me. I found that curious, in a clinical analysis.

    American POWs have suffered the lash and the sadism of Japanese fanatics and prison guards. American POWs have suffered under Saddam. They have been shot, executed, beheaded, and raped. Some left dead on bridges, others thrown onto airport tarmacs, and still others in unmarked graves.

    Americans do not torture their prisoners, they did not do so to the Japanese and they did not do so for those at Abu Ghraib. But we would be the most efficient, the ones most capable of resurrecting and maintaining the proper technique of the art of the torture. Do you know why? Because we would find no joy in the exercise of inflicting pain, or stuffing hemp cloth down a subject’s throat while using water poured down there to induce swallowing, then ripping the cloth out. We would find no joy, only cold rationality. And that is why Americans do not torture, because those that we do, would be so completely shattered that they would willingly kill their own brothers if we told them to. We are not Arabs, who take 5 hours to kill someone. No, I think Americans would use those 5 hours to make a nuclear bomb and kill far more, with far more efficiency.

    Americans are too efficient at whatever they put their minds to, for me to believe Bush’s clumsy propaganda and detention centers are the real deal. Another example of deductive logic. To determine whether the belief that Bush is torturing or killing, is true or false, you must act and believe as if the a priori assumption is true. I have done so. The above is what I found out.

    I am not Hollywood. Nor am I a believer in Nietzche and the power of the master race. Hollywood would say that Americans don’t torture because Americans are better on a moral scale. Let me tell you this, 1 American is not worth the lives of 500 terroists. 1 American is worth the lives of 9.859 X 10 to the power 85940390205494039 terroists. The comparison is illegitimate, you are not in charge of the Master Race here, Hollywood. Nor am I a believer in the power of the master race, I do not say “We do not torture because it hurts our character to spew so much hate at one single person, it damages us too much, we are the master race and we should not enjoy torturing sub-human animals”. No, I’m an American, and as an American I act with pragmatism and efficiency. The only reason I would not torture someone is not legal or moral considerations, it is the logic that I can kill 5 terroists in the time it takes me to torture 1. That logic works for me, and it worked for the Marines at Tarawa. We will kill the terroists, because I am interested in the information collected from the victims of terrorism, I have little interest in information collected from terroists themselves if it means we have to waste time playing buddy buddy at GitMo. If I can get more information from our true allies, the Iraqis, and not our true enemies, Islamic Jihad, by killing more terroists, I’d say that is a good tactic. I feel pity for the interrogators at GitMo, I don’t feel pity for the terroists. The interrogators are not doing it because they like being threatened by terroists and then being ordered to treat them as POWs protected by the Geneva Conventions (When not One American POW has benefited from the Geneva Conventions since WWII). They are doing it because someone called Bush, in their chain of command, gave specific orders.

    It is a rather gross irony that Fascism gave our soldiers Geneva Protections. Fascism, the greatest evil of a century, it is said. Yet the little evils of Saddam, Imperial Japan, and Vietnam gave no consideration to our POWs. The Geneva Conventions, ostensibly there to protect soldiers on both sides of a conflict, what a bitter irony that people have finally figured out that they will always receive Geneva Protections because America is lead by an overly compassionate President (line of Presidents). They have no need to treat American POWs well, because they know that they already benefit from the GC without having to pay a dime in return. What a magnificent torture jutsu, a perfect confection to the path of spiritual destruction.

    There are fools a plenty in this world. But then that is why we have term limits, eh? Roosevelt had lots of virtues and lots of vices, he started the war, but he never finished it. That was left to Truman, who if you recall, was more ruthless (in a smarter way) than Roosevelt. Bush will have started the war, but he will not be the one that ends it. No, it will be a far more brutal and pragmatic President in the future to take on that role. I await the unfolding of fate. If it’s one thing I know, it is that divine providence tends to smile on America and causes repetition of events. Presidents of American Wars do not survive to see the fruits of their labor. Neither Lincoln nor Roosevelt did. Truman lost after Korea. Johnson didn’t run again. Nixon resigned. What Roosevelt refused to give up in terms of power, God decided for him. I do not go to church, I am not religious, I do not believe in revealed truth.

    Do you remember that Roosevelt was buddy buddy with Stalin sort of like how Bush loves treating terroists with compassion? Roosevelt’s sucessors was… rather different if you recall.

    Now that’s how a proper rant should be written.

  • Lulu

    Since Clint is so concerned about displacement and occupation, I am curious if he also frets about the displacement of tens of millions of Hindus when Pakistan was carved out of India- the same year Israel was established, or, was that legitimate? Does he fret about the 30 year, well beyond occupation, but actual absorption, of Tibet, including suppression of Tibetan Buddhism and culture by the Chinese? How about the forced exodus of 700,000 Jews from Arab countries, with no compensation and not being allowed to take out money or possessions, after the state of Israel was established? Unlike Palestinians, these Jewish refugees were absorbed by Israel and haven’t been refugees since. The Palestinians, unique among all refugees, haven’t been absorbed, still cling to dreams of thier lost world, and remain refugees stuck in the past and hanging onto bitterness and hatred. Whatever someone like Clint feels, he too remains stuck in this weird fantasy. Israel exists and has for a while. Israeli people exist too. Any fantasies of getting rid of them, annhiliating them, replacing them is sick and genocidal- and dare I say, evil. Here’s the left illusion about the peace loving Palestinians- since the occupation alone propmpts them to do things like kidnap, torture, blow up buses and restaurants with babies and kids, shoot point blank pregnant women and kids, and dance and celebrate about these “victories”- it is clear that once Israel is annhiliated and all the Jews are pushed into the sea, yes once the Palestinians finish killing them all….
    why then they will have a state as peaceful as Switzerland.
    Dream on….

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    Totally excellent points, Lulu, about those Jews expelled from Arab lands, and about Israel’s successful absorbtion of immigrants, as opposed to the intentional refusal to absorb Palestinians. It’s also worth pointing out that many of the Palestinians, in 1948, voluntarily vacated their land on the advice of the Arab attackers, who told them that, after the Jews on the land had been slaughtered, the fellahins could move in and take all Jewish possessions — and we’re talking possessions that were bought and paid for over the preceding 50 years.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    About the last bit, a lot of people believe when the israelis pushed into the territory, the Palestinian people left because they were afraid of being killed by the Jews. Well, that’s the counter-genjutsu line to that bit about leaving in return for the spoils of war later on.

  • isirota1965

    I do NOT believe that the Islamofascists loudest declaration of war on us occurred on 9/11. That took place in 1979, when they occuppied the American embassy in Tehran. They have re-declared that war numerous times since then, but our perpetually impotent or non-existent responses have resulted directly in their becoming the mult-headed hydra that they are today………

  • T.S.

    “I do NOT believe that the Islamofascists loudest declaration of war on us occurred on 9/11. That took place in 1979, when they occuppied the American embassy in Tehran. They have re-declared that war numerous times since then, but our perpetually impotent or non-existent responses have resulted directly in their becoming the mult-headed hydra that they are today………” — Isirota

    Many also believe that Kermit Roosevelt’s actions in 1953, followed by the formation of SAVAK, are what led to the hostage crisis in 1979.

    What would we do if two foreign countries overthrew our democratically-elected president in order to control our natural resources? And worse yet, replaced our elected president with a dictator who was propped up by a brutal secret police force?

    Those who look for the bigger picture or the truth aren’t naive, they’re just interested in the bigger picture and the truth.

    From where I sit, it’s not anti-American to acknowledge blowback.
    It’s crazy not to.

  • http://cdrsalamander.blogspot.com CDR Salamander

    Bookie, I think you nailed it.

  • mamapajamas

    T.S., re: “Many also believe that Kermit Roosevelt’s actions in 1953, followed by the formation of SAVAK, are what led to the hostage crisis in 1979.”

    And this is precisely why I find the search for “root causes” to be a complete waste of time.

    In the end, while “root causes” might attempt to explain how something came about (and it ususally doesn’t because the initial cause would probably be something private between two individuals and unknown to public record), it does NOT solve the problem at all.

    We are responsible for what we do NOW. Cycles of violence can be broken at ANY stage by the parties involved. While most child molesters are men who were, themselves, molested as children, the man himself can refuse to inflict that same pain on other children. This is fully understood by adults who will NOT excuse any child molester since the culprit has the power to stop that particular cycle of violence. Cycles of poverty are broken up all the time by people who refuse to be commanded by their surroundings.

    Searching for a root cause leads to soft-headed people excusing all manner of violations against civilization.

    In the end, what really matters is: What did you do today? What did you learn about how to defeat the problems of your own environment?

    It’s all about individuals. It’s about individuals who either let circumstances toss them to and fro, or individuals who become anchors in the storm.

    EVERYONE has that choice.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    What would we do if two foreign countries overthrew our democratically-elected president in order to control our natural resources?

    I wasn’t aware that either Khomanei and Khomeini were the democratically elected Presidents that were overthrown.

    I agree, we should acknowledge the blowback that Iran caused when they violated diplomatic immunity and the sovereign territory of America by invading the embassy and then doing nothing to free those held. What would we do if a foreign country violated diplomatic immunity and held our citizens hostage in order to have a party?

    We should acknowledge the blowback by decapitating the Iranian government. Fair’s fair, if they can decapitate the Shah, because of blowback, we can return the blowback of our hostages by decapitating their government again. Nothing the Iranians don’t understand, it’s their logic. It’s not yours TS, you don’t have a say in what makes sense to the Iranians, only Iranians do. And Iranians have said blowback justifies decapitation. I believe it justifies it as well.

    Personally, i like T.S.’s cycle of violence, it gives me a very good justification to unleash America’s vengeance and fukushou. Republicans have often times desired, like mama, to limit the violence. But I see no need for that at the moment because I have the cycle of violence to justify it.

    I think it is about listening to the Left, people like T.S., because that is where you can find the bloodthirsty justifications for annihilating the enemy. I’ve heard arguments from the Right,they always talk about saving people by winning the war. I don’t want to save the Iranian leadership or even the Iranian people, Iraq is good enough for me at the moment. If we gain Iraq and lose Iran, I’d say that would be a great bargain.

    T.S.’s blowback justifications are very useful in this regard. I wonder if I had the Palestinian propaganda apparatus, I could convince 25% of the Left to go revenge using blowback. The Palestinians sure have convinced people like T.S. that cycle of violence and blowback justifies suicide jihad. I’m pretty sure I could do as well, if not better.

    For those who want to save the entire Middle East from annihilation, then well, I can only suggest that you pay no attention to T.S.’s justifications of blowback. It’s not a good path to tread if you want to be a humanitarian.

  • mamapajamas

    Ymars: re: “Republicans have often times desired, like mama, to limit the violence.”

    Actually, I don’t think limiting violence is possible. I was only pointing out that the ability to stop is an individual ability and responsibility, rendering the “victim” mentality inherent in the hunt for the “root cause” a red herring… and a damned dangerous one at that.

    The reason I don’t think limiting violence is possible is because too many people simply will not take responsibility for their own actions. They’re always going to point a finger of blame to a “root cause”. With willing accomplices in the MSM who took Psych 101 in college ever on the lookout for “victims”, they are too often allowed to get away with shirking their personal responsibility for their actions.

  • jg

    MPJ writes: ‘..they are too often allowed to get away with shirking their personal responsibility for their actions.’

    Part of a very good observation.

    Thank you.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    I don’t mean it in the sense of direct limitations. Grim speaks better about what I mean than I can. Many Republicans I see, hear, speak to, and converse with act like Grim. They seem to have the same desires, motivations, and justifications as Grim does, here in this thing he wrote on bf.

    I also didn’t write what I wrote, because I was thinking of what you, mama, said about root causes.

    P.S.

    Ultimately my point was to contrast those who want to end the cycle of violence to those who would seek to prolong it. There are arguments for both sides. I have interests in prolonging it, elongaging it, and making it more violent. But I also have an interest in ending it. I’d like to have my vengeance and my conscience at the same time.

    I collected the requisite links here.
    http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/2006/07/republicans-and-motivations-war-and.html

    You can find the link to grim’s post there, to get a clearer understanding of what I mean.

  • T.S.

    We are responsible for what we do NOW. — Pajama Mama

    That may be. But the past is prologue, as they say.

    Nobody can understand what happened in 1979 without looking at 1953. And while it’s true that the whys and hows of any given situation don’t matter to a lot of people, I can’t help but wonder if they matter to God.

    Ulysses S. Grant felt that nations, like individuals, suffer for their transgressions. CIA analysts just call it “blowback.”

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    Ulysses S. Grant felt that nations, like individuals, suffer for their transgressions. CIA analysts just call it “blowback.”

    Like I said, T.S. provides all the justifications you need to destroy Iran, utterly and completely.

  • mamapajamas

    TS: “That may be. But the past is prologue, as they say.”

    And here we are back at the basis of the topic in this thread.

    I have a strong belief that every human being is 100% responsible for what he does. All else is just a cop-out. The only real excuse is if someone is holding a gun to your head.

    Harsh? Maybe. But it takes away the fantasy of “causes”. As Ymars pointed out, you’ve given us the perfect excuse to wipe out Iran. The takeover of our Embassy was in violation of every international law on the book.

    But should we do it?

    And it is what we DO that counts in the end.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    A trivial thing most people don’t know, but Grant was afraid of the sight of blood.

    How’s that for your chickenhawk?

  • T.S.

    ” I have a strong belief that every human being is 100% responsible for what he does.”

    I believe in personal responsibilty, too.

    But I also believe that the sins of the father will be (and have been) visited upon the children.

    The 1953 coup was in violation of International Law, too. As was the 1963 coup that brought the Baathists to power in Iraq.’

    Each coup has come with consequences.

    And, are you actually wondering whether or not the U.S should “wipe out” Iran?

    If that were to happen, the consequences would be far more immediate, I’d wager.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    I think it’s clear that some people have gang, mafia, and border war mentalities. Like T.S. here. You killed my brother, I’ll kill your sister. You killed my daughter because I killed your sister, this means I’ll kill both your grandfather and grandmother. Gang/mafia mentality really. You do this, I’ll do that. I’ll do this to what you did after I did that.

    TS doesn’t appear to know this, but his perspective is a rather skewed one. When he speaks about blowback, he is talking specifically about the blowback from Iran and the world against the United States. He does not use it in relation to the blowback from America, against the world and Iran.

    Regardless of that, however, in reality blowbacks and border war fukushou goes both ways. It is a self-sustaining reaction of death and vengeance, that will not end until one side or the other disappears. The McCoys and MacClintocks are good examples.

    I think what TS really believes, is in American personal responsibility. The belief that only Americans have personal responsibility, while everyone else has what is called “personal blowback rights”.

    If you study the psychology of border wars and mutual clan annihilation wars, you will see an underlying pattern. That underlying pattern is the belief that the other side is responsible for doing things, and therefore you are duty bound to punish the other side. From the other side, they believe YOU are responsible for doing things to them, and that they have a DUTY to punish you.

    TS is on one side of this if you analyze his mentality. He talks about one side being responsible for one thing and what one side needs to do about it. His beliefs, or philosophy if you will, is the kind of stuff I can use to justify destroying a lot of people. Which does have its uses you know, the Palestinians after all have made great use of such justifications as blowback for one side or the other.

    Just as is true with border wars, both sides must want to end things. If one side wanted to end things, and the other didn’t, they would go meet for a peace deal and the violent tribe would betray and wipe out the non-violent tribe. Pretty simple stuff.

    All this political stuff people make out to be “high order diplomatic” mumbo international jumbo, can all be reduced down into simple idiot redneck clan warfare. People use CIA terms like “blowback” when it’d be better to call it redneck ignorance and stupidity. Shakespear tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, I kill you, you kill me, scheise.

  • mamapajamas

    Ymars: re: “People use CIA terms like “blowback” when it’d be better to call it redneck ignorance and stupidity.”

    Ya’ll watch that “redneck” stuff now ;).

    Otherwise, I find your comment very astute and full of realism.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    T.S.: As I understand your reasoning, one could just as well argue that, because the Treaty of Versailles set the world up for Hitler’s rise to power, the world should just have acquiesced to Hitler’s vision of a pan-European Third Reich with all non-German races either destroyed or reduced to slavery.

    The fact that we (meaning nations) set balls in motion — and that those balls turn out to create horrible outcomes — doesn’t mean we are therefore disabled from dealing with the consequences of our earlier acts. In this case, the consequence we’re facing is Islamist terror, and we have to deal with it. Even if we say that the Islamists are incapable of rational moral thought because of something the US did 40 or 50 years ago, it would be suicidal for us to take the step you seem to suggest and to give up.

  • T.S.

    T.S.: As I understand your reasoning, one could just as well argue that, because the Treaty of Versailles set the world up for Hitler’s rise to power, the world should just have acquiesced to Hitler’s vision of a pan-European Third Reich with all non-German races either destroyed or reduced to slavery. — Bookworm

    No. I’m not discussing “shoulds” I’m discussing what is.

    Admitting that the Treaty of Versialles led to Hitler’s rise is the same thing as admitting that the US coup of 1953 led to the rise of Islamofascism in Iran. “Unintended consequences” are part of this, whether we want to admit that or not.

    “Even if we say that the Islamists are incapable of rational moral thought because of something the US did 40 or 50 years ago, it would be suicidal for us to take the step you seem to suggest and to give up.” — Bookworm

    And no, I’m not saying that Islamists are incapable of rational thought because of something we did years ago. I’m saying that actions bring about reactions. We dealt with crap in Iraq in 1979 because of what we did in 1953– and we will be dealing with crap in Iraq for years to come. People want to dispel the notion of blowback or unintended consequences, but History is a long string of them.

    Using your example: Is it wrong to examine how someone like Hitler rose to power? Is it weak to admit that the Treaty of Versialles played a role?

    I’m not talking aobut “giving up.” But, hell, the CIA has stopped looking for bin Laden and the Taliban had “retaken” parts of Afghanistan. Iraq is not the cakewalk once promised and sooner of later, reality has to sink in.

    Mistakes come with a price tag and it seems foolish to believe otherwise.

  • http://bookwormroom.wordpress.com/ Bookworm

    You’re right, T.S. — history is a string of causal events that lead to the here and now. And Mamapajamas is right that we have to deal with the here and now. The past is always of scholarly interest and its study may certainly provide solutions to the problems we now face, and to problems we should, in future avoid. However, as T.S. himself acknowledges, recognizing the errors of the past cannot be used to disable functioning in the present. And that, I’m afraid, is what so many do — it’s like a societal penance. We sinned in 1953, so it’s right that we should be destroyed in 2006. I don’t subscribe to that worldview. And I suspect that the Iranian people, who really can’t be enjoying life too much under the Ayatollahs, would appreciate it more if we tried to correct historic errors rathern than heading down a path that will have us sharing the Iranian’s travails.

  • mamapajamas

    BW sez: “The fact that we (meaning nations) set balls in motion — and that those balls turn out to create horrible outcomes — doesn’t mean we are therefore disabled from dealing with the consequences of our earlier acts.”

    I agree with this. To say that we brought it down upon ourselves and should therefore butt out because of what we did when is to accuse ourselves of not being psychic… which is totally irrational.

    And I suppose that is my biggest problem with going back to the past and hunting for causes. It is accusing the people of the past of not being able to predict every single possible outcome of given actions. It is accusing the people of the past of not being psychic.

  • T.S.

    We sinned in 1953, so it’s right that we should be destroyed in 2006. I don’t subscribe to that worldview.” –Book

    Either do I.

    We sinned in 1953 and so we had the hostage crisis in 1979. There was a correlation. It’s silly to think otherwise.

    “And I suppose that is my biggest problem with going back to the past and hunting for causes. It is accusing the people of the past of not being able to predict every single possible outcome of given actions. It is accusing the people of the past of not being psychic.” Pajama Mama.

    As far as the 1953 coup, who wouldn’t think that killing a nation’s democratically -elected leader and installing a dictator (while creating a brutal secret police force) WOULD NOT have consequences? You dont have to be psychic to figure that out.

    There were plenty of generals and noble-prize winning scientists and former heads of state who predicted the outcome in Iraq, too.
    In fact, several of the consequences we’re now seeing were outlined beforehand by the likes of George Bush, Sr, Brent Scowcroft and Norman Schwarzkoph.

  • jg

    TS, I’m satisfied with our mission in Iraq. It’s good to see you are supporting our/your troops. It does save putting your life on the line, no? For now.

    Hey, no one ever said freedom would be easy. You or your kids/grandkids will be (hopefully) fighting Islamists for DECADES. Or (2) you’ll be dead, which is a better choice than the scenario which follows: That is (3), you’ll be living under sharia and liking it.
    (3) could mean you would, after all, see the Shah’s side.

  • http://ymarsakar.blogspot.com/ Ymarsakar

    I got no problem with rednecks, Mama. I’m the one favoring terroists all having red necks, aren’t I??

    I’m not talking aobut “giving up.”

    TS is right, he’s talking instead, about something so obvious that a 10 year old understands. Actions have consequences. All action has a reaction.

    Not much there, there, you know.
    We sinned in 1953 and so we had the hostage crisis in 1979. There was a correlation. It’s silly to think otherwise.

    TS is actually wrong when he makes the correlations. In most cases of disagreement, it has to do with the details. The broad spectrum logic, most people agree on. Most people agree that poverty should be alleviated and wars should be ended, but the disagreement is always over the specific details and solutions.

    A direct causality link would have been the CIA overthrowing a liberal democracy, installing the Shah, and then the people overthrowing the Shah, and returning it to a liberal democracy. But that’s not what happens. So what really happened is that someone used the pretext of history to justify filling the power vacuum. This is why TS is wrong, regardless of whether you believe in the principle of historic causation or not.

    TS is stating, and he’s being very obtuse and non-specific about it, that the consequences are specifically what he has described. But that’s not true. Khomeini/khomanei overthrew the Shah, and replaced a regime that was about on the level of Kuwaitt right now with a regime about the level of the Taliban. And then the hostage crisis occured because of the level of Islamic Jihad support the Khoms had for Shia terrorism. When Jimmy Carter refused to support the Shah, the direct consequences was an Islamic Revolution that has brought Iran to the pitiful state it is in now.

    What seems to have happened was that someone decided to do things half-way. A bad plan, done competently, has its saving graces. A bad plan, done half way, and then stopped, is worse than bad. I’m reminded of someone people who tried capturing the leader of a guerrila force when that leader had come in under a truce flag. This violated the trust, and not only that, but the guerrila leader was extracted from the trap by his lieutenants and several guerrilas died in the fighting. Not only did they fail to capture the leader, but the guerrila force had planned to be betrayed and was ready to launch a full scale offensive if their leader didn’t return unharmed. So not only was this plan to capture him, going to cause a reaction, but the fact that the plan failed, not only caused a reaction but it made the reaction worse. The ability to tell the fine differences between what action caused what result, is an ability I don’t think TS has. When he speaks about it being obvious that this lead to that, he’s leaving out completely the math and connections. He provides no explanations because he cannot provide them.

    It is a neat trick though, and I mentioned before that Palestinians have made good use of it. You can use historical incidents as pretexts to justify your current actions. TS uses it to justify his discontent, Bookworm uses it to justify her belief in Israel, and I use historical incidents to justify military objectives and tactics. But there are variations and differences, that if you look closely, you will see.

    I believe another important subject, is that someone can believe manipulating the causality chain actually works on everyone. It doesn’t. There’s nothing there, there. You end up with someone concluding one thing, and it just does not progress in terms of what he is going to do now. It’s the philosophy of the guy always out of phase of the current time. He’s always looking back, never in phase with the past or present.

    Dealing with the here and now is a subject I recommend that TS avoid, because his ability to learn from the past correctly is something I doubt is rock solid at the moment. Not learning from history is one thing, ignorance is bad. But what’s worse is learning incorrectly from history, that just dooms people.

  • http://www.whyweworry.com Clint

    Bookworm,

    “You’re spouting propaganda based on your beliefs. I’ll rebut that with history (in my Left sidebar, you can click on “Big Lies : Demolishing the Myths of the Propaganda War Against Israel), which you won’t believe, because it runs country to the story you bought that was put about by the Arab League from the late 1940s onward.”

    No – I won’t believe it because it’s not true, as should be instantly deduced by the fact that the name David Horowitz is attached to it. It’s not credible.

    “That it doesn’t mesh at all with history is irrelevant, because it also doesn’t mesh with your belief system. I do wish, though, that I could tug you a little closer to historical fact, and a little further away from Arab nationalist fiction.”

    That’s very noble, but I don’t believe I am in need of saving.

  • T.S.

    TS is stating, and he’s being very obtuse and non-specific about it, that the consequences are specifically what he has described. But that’s not true.” —

    It’s not true that the 1953 coup led to the 1979 hostage situation? I recommend “All the Shah’s Men” by Stephen Kinzer.

    In the meantime, this ancient PBS program spells it out, too:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3281.htm

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com/ Don Quixote

    Hi Clint,

    It’s an old dodge to attack the source when you can’t answer the facts. But rather than arguing about who has the better propaganda machine, let’s discuss what you would have Israel do, what you think their enemies’ response will be, and how best to preserve Israel (or do you, too, seek to destroy Israel?).

  • mamapajamas

    Clint: “No – I won’t believe it because it’s not true, as should be instantly deduced by the fact that the name David Horowitz is attached to it. It’s not credible.”

    David Horowitz is attacked because he was once a radical communist, literally a “red diaper” baby, one of the founders of the Village Voice, and a leader of the Vietnam “Peace” movement who eventually realized that he was wrong.

    He is famous for blowing the cover off of the fact that a large number of the greenies in the US were people he personally knew to be communists as he spent quite a few years moving in their circle, that their REAL agenda is economic, not environmental.

    THAT is the reason he is attacked by the left, not the veracity of his statements. Personally, I’d believe David Horowitz over virtually anyone on the left.