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Reader comment on item: [William Blum and] Al-Qaeda's Leftist Brigade

Submitted by a Filipino liberal (Philippines), Jan 30, 2006 at 04:10

Finally... and I'd been wondering when it would be William Blum's turn to be blasted. You see, his book, Rogue State, was the very first book to enlighten me on the US of A's true motives and actions. It's an old book, actually (first publication 1999, with an updated version published after 9/11) that's why its good that it's finally getting noticed. I got it in 2003, after the invasion of Iraq. My initial support of the US in the wake of September 11 had turned to mild, and then stronger, disapproval of its actions when they somehow used the terrorist threat to invade Iraq.

This invasion is a case in point. The hawks in Washington used two main reasons to justify the war: Saddam's possession of WMD and Saddam's connection to bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Of course, we all know what happened next. After the invasion, both theories were totally disproven, as not only did the most extensive search of Iraq by hundreds of American and international inspectors for months turn up not the slightest trace of WMD (no parts for weapons or chemical, biological, or nuclear stores were ever found, much less a complete weapon), but no demonstrable link between Saddam's government and Al-Qaeda was ever discovered. In fact, the opposite was true: The two men actually disliked each other. Fundamentalist bin Laden versus secular Saddam.

So what did the US do after this? You'd expect any normal human beings, after not one, but both of his justifications were disproven, to immediately apologize or at least suffer public embarassment, loss of face, or even shame. But instead the US, with its customary shamelessness, arrogance, and inability to feel remorse, guilt, or even admit wrongdoing, tried another trick. They tried to change the topic (Don't you hate it when you're having an argument with someone and he tries this on you?). After their first reasons had been disproven, the US suddenly switched to "Saddam is a dictator and we had to put him down", and "We want to reform Iraq to a democratic form of government and help its people". These excuses, of course, were obediently snapped up by the right, who were probably getting a little nervous over their earlier mistake. Now they could say that they were trying to remove a dictator and restore democracy. Well, this is partly true. Saddam was anti-American, after all, which gives the US a self-interested reason to remove him (which, to me, makes it more believable). But that isn't the main reason. Saddam Hussein was a socialist dictator. The main US problem with him wasn't the "dictator" part, but the "socialist" part. For if the US were really against dictators, then they would never have supported the likes of Pinochet, Ferdinand Marcos, and Suharto. On the other hand, the socialist Salvador Allende, who was overthrown in a CIA-supported military coup led by General Pinochet, was democratically elected and widely supported by the populace. (though I suppose not so much by the upper classes). Other main reasons were: the large oil reserves in Iraq, which the wicked Saddam had nationalized and removed from the control of US and British multinational corporations, and the desire for a greater presence in the Middle East, in the form of military bases, governments close to the US, spy stations, etc, beyond the sizable American presence in Saudi Arabia.

Anyway, I digress. The point is... I'm glad his books are getting so much publicity. In the face of this publicity, the right can no longer resort to its usual method of ignoring or downplaying the attention, so they have to resort to the much less effective means of attacking Blum and his books, which, incidentally, also increases publicity.

I was surprised, too, by his saying that he was not repulsed, and actually glad, that bin Laden endorsed his book. After all, his stance is not so much that the US is wrong and the terrorists are right, but that the US is no better than the terrorists; thus, both sides are wrong. (Of course, even this more moderate view will not satisfy the conservatives, who think they're always right and they're opponents are always wrong) Blum must have radicalized even more over the past few years.

However, he did make some very good statements. He said, for example, that "I would not say that bin Laden has been any less moral than Washington has been". Indeed. Why, exactly, should the US be any more moral than Al-Qaeda? Al-Qaeda has bombed innocent civilians. The US has done so too, and with far greater damage. Al-Qaeda has spread hatred of the West and a belief in Islamic superiority. The US right-wingers have also spread hatred of Muslims, and a belief in Western superiority. Al-Qaeda wishes to reestablish the ancient Islamic caliphate, which covered North Africa on the Atlantic coast, in a belt up to Indonesia and the southern Philippines. The US, on the other hand, wishes to extend its hegemony over the entire world. Americans, of course, would be the last to admit that the US has done wrong in the past. I understand. It's entirely natural, after all. It's hard to believe your country has been evil, especially if that country has prided itself on being a beacon of morals and freedom. Blum knows this, as he said in Rogue State that "suggesting a moral equivalency with terrorists... never fails to incite American anger".

In conclusion... Even I was shocked and amazed when I first read the book, and I thought that the carefully footnoted evidence of the US's hypocrisy, arrogance, and wrongdoing could convince anyone. I know now that I was wrong, and naive besides. As George Lakoff said in his book "Don't Think of an Elephant!", facts and truth are not enough to convince people, contrary to what most liberals naively thought, especially if the people you have to convince have the force of religion on their side. Religious conservatives call liberals blasphemers, but in fact they are the real blasphemers, because they twist their religion's teachings to agree with their own beliefs (to fit their frames, Lakoff would say). For example, the New Testament condemns greed, selfishness, materialism, and excessive wealth, why, then, is George "tax cuts for the rich" Bush, an avowed pious Christian, so obviously pro-rich?

Look at Rogue State logically. With the wealth of US actions recorded in the book, there are only three ways to look at it: A. They[the actions] are not true, B. They are true, but they are right, or C. They are true, and they are wrong. Now, considering the footnotes and careful study Blum employed to write this book, and the wide variety of sources and proofs, the answer cannot be A. And personally, I don't think there is any justification for many of the things mentioned in the book, so the answer cannot be B, either. And that leaves us with only one option: Letter C.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (84) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Will.Blum- What about 'Operation Splinter Factor' [38 words]bob mcglynnApr 29, 2007 20:5691078
read for yourself here: [40 words]boogerMar 28, 2007 01:3788094
RE WILLIAM BLUM [53 words]JIM SAWYERFeb 9, 2007 18:4076656
The impartiality of Mr Blum and his sources [595 words]John, UKMar 12, 2006 18:5639876
Look at the Sources [113 words]Anthony GiordanoMar 4, 2006 15:0838877
the Left specifically propagandises for Osama bin Laden [104 words]alanMar 8, 2006 09:3838877
Good ole poppycock [153 words]D WilliamsSep 3, 2006 21:1638877
Read before you comment [156 words]Andy MillerFeb 2, 2006 18:0333556
about time [1160 words]a Filipino liberalJan 30, 2006 04:1033078
[William Blum and]Al-Qaeda's Leftist Brigade Art.3308 [46 words]S.C.PandaJan 28, 2006 05:1632900
using free info [23 words]janet cohenJan 26, 2006 07:4132518
The correct way to combat terrorism [420 words]frankJan 25, 2006 22:3832487
Reply to Frank [415 words]SiddaJan 26, 2006 09:3432487
Someone TURN ON THE LIGHT! [1119 words]D WilliamsSep 3, 2006 20:3132487
l'espace francophone, islamisme, gauchisme, pro arabe...même combat [25 words]Le RayJan 25, 2006 17:3232466
Live in a glass house... [276 words]HarrakJan 25, 2006 09:1732412
...dont throw stones at it. [89 words]D WilliamsSep 3, 2006 21:2332412
ALL IN ONE [187 words]A AHMEDJan 25, 2006 08:5732409
to A Ahmed [363 words]SiddaJan 26, 2006 10:0432409
ALL IN ONE [174 words]IanusJan 26, 2006 14:0032409
Hmm, easy on the one view buster [162 words]D WilliamsSep 3, 2006 21:3232409
WOW [11 words]D WilliamsSep 3, 2006 21:3532409
No Sidda, you are not wrong! [53 words]MosheSep 6, 2006 03:0132409
As long as it's Bibi its all right to interfere [79 words]y Brandstetter MDMay 28, 2015 01:1732409
Foggy Bottom-Feeders [236 words]orange yonasonJan 25, 2006 00:4832387
Blum & Al Quaeda [114 words]Steven lJan 24, 2006 22:5332385
Conspiracy theory as leftist weltaanschauung - can OBL read english? [40 words]Ben van de PolderJan 24, 2006 21:0432379
In the name of freedom [139 words]F. ShakkiJan 24, 2006 20:3932377
What's next with Wm Blum? [299 words]yzolsageJan 24, 2006 20:1432375
Birds of a feather [83 words]Darwin BarrettJan 24, 2006 19:5232374
1Today's leftists are tomorrow's Islamists [197 words]IanusJan 25, 2006 06:4232374
World lefties [152 words]TellisJan 24, 2006 19:1832371
Simply deal with a Devil [320 words]BorisJan 24, 2006 18:2332367
William Blum [27 words]R. HickethierJan 24, 2006 18:0332365
Selling one's soul to the Devil [248 words]IanusJan 24, 2006 17:3432359
blum's religion [81 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
alan jay gerberJan 24, 2006 17:2932358
Clever bin Laden [155 words]AlexJan 24, 2006 16:0532349
Far left is safer than being a friend of Israel [198 words]y brandstetter MDJan 24, 2006 15:5732346
Response to Dr. Brandstetter [144 words]Merry WhitneyJan 27, 2006 00:3532346
But they won't leave [148 words]SiddaJan 24, 2006 15:4332343
WORLD DESTRUCTION [472 words]howlinJan 24, 2006 15:2132338
Is prosecution in order here? [66 words]JonathanJan 24, 2006 15:0832336
Saboteurs and other creatures [232 words]Shmuel HaLeviJan 24, 2006 14:3832334
From their rhetoric I gain strength [75 words]JOHN MANITTAJan 24, 2006 14:3432333
A more cunning infiltration or Partners in hatred [471 words]Reuben HorneJan 24, 2006 14:2632332
Moore or less [30 words]Virginia guyJan 24, 2006 14:0532331
The polarities who merged [172 words]batya daganJan 24, 2006 13:4032327
The Only Real Polarities [223 words]Miguel LahunkenSep 1, 2017 07:5932327
Criticism is easy [156 words]Gunther SteinbergJan 24, 2006 13:1032324
RE: Criticism is easy [108 words]IanusJan 24, 2006 16:3732324
You reap what you sow [62 words]abd_abdalJan 24, 2006 18:2432324
HES RIGHT ON THE MARK [187 words]A AhmedJan 25, 2006 08:5232324
Theo van Gogh? [15 words]John PeppleJan 25, 2006 13:0832324
Tsk tsk tsk [45 words]D WilliamsSep 3, 2006 21:4432324
Why would they reform if victory seems so probable? [170 words]Marcus JulianusJan 24, 2006 13:0332322
Is Blum a recent convert? [69 words]PigootJan 24, 2006 12:4832320
Mainstreaming the Unholy Alliance [186 words]Lee D. CaryJan 24, 2006 12:2832317
Amazon Ranking Issue [247 words]JKJan 24, 2006 12:2732316
Oh, Please, JK [67 words]Merry WhitneyJan 27, 2006 01:0032316
Some things do not change [62 words]David LincolnJan 24, 2006 12:0932314
Blum's in bloom [320 words]John W. McGinleyJan 24, 2006 12:0832313
Blum [71 words]Donald W. BalesJan 24, 2006 11:4832312
The Left and Islam [143 words]VinodguptJan 24, 2006 16:1332312
The Left Has Always Betrayed [130 words]Behrouz AzarniaJan 24, 2006 11:4332310
Left and Islam [43 words]VinodguptJan 24, 2006 16:0232310
The Left Has Always Betrayed ...but sometimes been betrayed [94 words]IanusJan 24, 2006 16:1332310
Reply to Ianus - The Left Has Always Betrayed [167 words]Behrouz AzarniaJan 25, 2006 05:3832310
An instructive lesson from recent Iranian history [363 words]IanusJan 25, 2006 16:5932310
Iran's suffering [623 words]D WilliamsSep 3, 2006 22:2032310
treason no longer stylish [223 words]festineJan 24, 2006 11:3532308
what are you trying to say? [119 words]a Filipino liberalJan 30, 2006 04:4232308
Kudos to bin Laden, curses to American leftists [240 words]JaneJan 24, 2006 11:2032307
Reply to Jane, "Kudos to bin laden..." [62 words]Darwin BarrettJan 24, 2006 20:3132307
it's the hypocrisy, stupid [313 words]a Filipino liberalJan 30, 2006 04:3432307
McCarthyism and Jihadists controlling America, Jane? [173 words]Propaganda Anyone?Feb 14, 2006 19:0032307
See What I mean [68 words]D WilliamsSep 3, 2006 22:2832307
So no one is right? [16 words]D WilliamsSep 3, 2006 22:3032307
Blum is a Jew and bin Ladin touts his book? [36 words]R. DavidsonJan 24, 2006 11:1932306
RE: Blum is a Jew and bin Ladin touts his book? [74 words]IanusJan 24, 2006 15:5532306
I'm ashamed [20 words]Yitzhak BenshushanJan 27, 2006 15:0032306
I'm ashamed [70 words]IanusJan 27, 2006 18:2732306
Typical [285 words]James BigaJan 24, 2006 10:3032304
1Comments to "Typical" by James Biga [254 words]Steve RSep 3, 2006 20:1832304
My Final Comment [127 words]D WilliamsSep 3, 2006 22:4032304

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