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Just Me

Reader comment on item: Something Rotten in Denmark?
in response to reader comment: Saddam had WMDs

Submitted by Sword of Islam (United Kingdom), Mar 11, 2006 at 13:24

Unfortunately, too people many have a mental filter that makes them incapable of actually seeing anything that doesn't support a predetermined opinion. You can prove anything with statistics if they are not placed in the appropriate context. For example, the bombing of the former Yugoslavia by NATO is an unpleasant statistic but when placed in the context of an attempt to stop the ethnic cleansing that was taking place, rather than a cold list of bombing targets, then it is difficult to understand how a supposed Muslim can use it to support a theory of consistent aggression against Islam. Unfortunately, the US can't win. You're always going to be damned if you do and damned if you don't.

I, for one, will always give the US the 'benefit of the doubt' in a given situation as I genuinely believe that despite the occasional mistake the US has been a greater force for good than any of countries from whom her external critics spring. Sure, there have been political and military misadventures. However, any blame for the mess in Iraq lies squarely on the shoulders of the Arab participants of Gulf War 1, and to a lesser extent the liberal activists here at home, that refused to mandate the taking of Iraq the first time around making the coalition stop at liberating Kuwait. If we had finished the job the first time around it wouldn't have been anything like as messy as it would not have served as a battleground for Al-Qaeda. The blame for the subsequent suffering endured by the Iraqi population as a result of this via sanctions is clearly untimately their fault. The deaths of those who died in the Iraqi uprising against Saddam that was so brutally crushed is also on their consciences. These are the same voices that are so critical of us today. Have they a good track record which suggests that their voices should be heeded in these perilous times? I don't think so.

(However, despite the fact that many people believe that the incursion into Iraq has increased global terrorism I strongly believe that it has focused militant attention on this area and subsequently spread it very thin making Europe and the US marginally safer as a consequence.)

The other problem that we collectively face is that of blatant ignorance. The numerous banners that I saw criticising the US for publishing the cartoons at the various riots and the attacks on UK embassies, purportedly for the same reasons, served to illustrate this point given that neither country actually published the cartoons and were actually quite critical of the countries that chose to do so! Unfortunately, the facts are the first casualty in such environments and there isn't a great deal that can be done when the driving force that you confront is driven by religous fervour. The Soviet Union, for all its sins, at least had the single virtue of pragmatism.

Diplomacy should always be the first port of call but it is quite clear that in a situation where one party is attempting to negotiate and the other, whether guided by ignorance or outright deceit, is only ever going to obfuscate then military action is the only intelligent course of action. The moral responsibility for any such action will always lie with the party that tries to use the negotiating table as a means to divide or confuse a coalition, which in and of itself, is a military tactic by other means. The dialogue on this board is an interesting example of this inability to do little else other than cloud issues. Specificity and verification of facts seems alien to too many people and gives me an insight as to why so many people felt that dialogue via the UN is nvariably doomed to failure.

Incidentally, the thing that interested me most about the cartoon furore was the fact that the two key components of the driving force that took military action in the Middle East (ie US & UK) took a backseat in this cartoon row while so many that were against these military campaigns esp. France took the lead.

But getting back to the point, it is a good development that people are posting such outside links on this board, however misguided, as it at least goes to show the dubious sources from which they derive their information and can only serve to quell the nagging doubt that any reasonable person might have as to the legitimacy of their position if the opposition that one faces is widespread enough. Given that such claims have proved so easy to shoot down (like ducks in a shooting gallery) it can only be a good thing.

I'm sure that, like me, you'd feel as if you'd learned something if you posted an erroneous statistic and further debate showed that you were mistaken in some aspect of your belief. Too many of these guys will dodge the bullet and profess ignorance of the fact that a shot has been fired! What are they so frightened of? After all, the Truth will set you free!!!!
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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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