Common ground.....really so absurd??
Reader comment on item: How the West Could Lose
Submitted by Michel (United States), Jan 26, 2007 at 19:53
Hello Noah – I send my respect once more, this time as a brand new US Citizen.
Pinning your hope on such a terribly rare event is like pinning your hopes for paying off your debts on winning the lottery, simple because someone else won it once. It's not realistic by any measure.
I decided a long time ago, to always look at the glass from a half full perspective. Even if the glass is only 10% full. In addition to that, if one has no hope, then one has nothing. I attended once a pure philosophy class discussing Heinrich Heine. He makes the statement that beneath every single gravestone, there lays a universe and asks the question, if one single life may be as much worth as a thousand?
In many of my posts have I mentioned that sometimes indeed the greater good must be considered, the lesser evil selected. But who will be the judge to make such terrible decisions?
" Analogy: I am N O T willing to bomb a house full of Serial Killers to the ground, if there is one innocent child inside. You can not call me in above analogy right or wrong. You can either share or not share my philosophy."This is an improper, inaccurate, and erroneous example for several reasons. First, it is an appeal to emotion as it involves killing a child. Second, it elevates the life of one above the lives of many. Certainly, it would be sad and regretable that a child was killed in such an attack. However, allowing such sentimentality to prevent the job from being carried out is a disservice that effectively emasculates those fighting the terrorists. If we allow those serial killers to escape due to the presence of one innocent child, how many more are condemned to die by our inaction? Perhaps hundreds of innocent people will die. The lives of the many outweigh the lives of the one.
The point I am making with this analogy is not to let the serial killers go. The point I make is that every avenue, every possibility must be explored first, before taking the ultimate action. Out of respect for the one innocent life – no matter, if child, woman or man.
Let us escalate that to a situation where Bin Laden, Amadmanjihad, Zawahiri, and other top terrorist leaders are in a cave somewhere on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. They have 3 nuclear devices and the plans and money along with the agents who are going to bring the bombs into the United States. The plan is virtually foolproof. They are going to nuke LA, NYC, and Chicago, killing 20,735,475 innocent people. Twenty million plus! There are a couple of little Afghani and Pakistani boys and girls living in the caves with them (probably sex slaves). Do you blow the cave and everyone in it to kingdom come? Or do you condemn over 20 million people to a horrible death, condemn our entire country to decades of misery and deprivation, condemn our entire way of life and future, simply to save a few children?
In your specific example, I myself can not come to another conclusion.
" That says nothing about allowing subversives intent on destroying our country into our lands and giving them all the tools they need to enact their genocidal plans. My MO is not at all in contradiction of the Constitution. In fact, I would consider this supported in Article 3, in the section on treason:"Section 3: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort"Treason can be punished with a death sentence. You also overlook the fact that I would not be imposing a death sentence on all Muslims. I would be enforcing the deportation of an alien ideology hostile to the ver existence of the United States, and those who adhere to such an ideology.
Who is convicted of above - after the guaranteed due process – shall be punished according to the law. I agree fully with you on that. I disagree with you only on the statement, that all Muslims are per definition our enemies, focused on our destruction.
Very little fallout would be fallout that is not significant enough to precipitate a rise in radiation related deaths. From what I have read, the bunker busting nukes we have burst underground, just like the test sites in the desert. Those areas (the Iranian nuke sites) would simply be fenced off and enclosed. Most of the radiation would be contained underground. The rest would disspiate harmlessly as it would not be a significant amount."Can you even fathom, what that fall out would do to a region of 1500miles? There is not enough grain in the world to make up for just the crops lost in this region. For decades after, genetic defects throughout the entire region including Europe. The crater such a bunker buster opens is 50 yards wide, for God's sake.Enough to send massive amounts of nuclear radiation upwards into the atmosphere. It would take several times Hiroshima levels to break through, down and destroy wide. Study the specs, if you can access them. Some of the stuff is by now declassified and you should be able to find them." First, most of the explosion would be contained underground. What part of that don't you get? Second, better to irradiate a nasty swath of barren desert than to allow Israel or New York City to be destroyed.
Atomic/Chem/Bio warfare within the special forces arm, was my specialty. I could go on and on, but will only add that, as opposed to the underground tests ( fully contained underground) these weapons are being called low yield only in comparison to atmospheric explosions, such as Hiroshima.
Compared to my example, Tschernobyl, they'll unleash hell upon a huge region, within 3- 8 weeks, depending on weather and mostly wind conditions, reaching radiation levels in the mentioned area way beyond what Tschernobyl did. Believe me, Noah - even the (comparably ;-) small) crater of a bunker buster is a wide open hole, compared to the "crack" which paralyzed Europe at the time. The term "low yield" is extremely misleading - that darn relativism again – compared to what?
Having said that – I just got an article forwarded by one of the editors of the Neue Zuercher Zeitung, one of the most reputable papers in Europe, which confirms me in a terrible way, as far as IRAN goes.
http://www.nysun.com/article/47111 (One mother of a scary scenario)
Once again, if we really must focus on a "Muslim" Enemy, I recommend to focus on this one, the single biggest danger our entire civ faces, Muslims included. Focus your efforts here, is my sincere opinon, as all other threats seem marginal in comparison.
You clearly don't understand how America works. Roughly 85% are against amnesty, but the politicians don't work for the will of the people anymore. Hence, my call for revolution.
How realistic. Having dismissed your call as surreal, I recommend to take other avenues with a chance for implementation.
" No one claimed they were 100% representative of the entire Muslim world. Obviously there are Muslims who are the exception to the rule. Just not enough to skew the equation.
And who has the arrogance to make that call? What's enough? 1%? 10%, where do you draw the line?
My methods are not too radical, they are totally appropriate to the threat. What causes you such anguish over it? Is it the idea of being firm and determined and not wishy-washy? Is it the tough love approach where I force the perpetrator to atone his own actions? My solution spares the United States any further deterioration of culture by Muslims, it destroys their various, multi-level methods of jihad instantly, it rids us of known terrorists and appeasers, and it forces Islam into isolation while putting the burden of reform where it belongs...back on the Muslims themselves.
Your methods are pushing an entire culture into the underground. Banning Islam? How would you try to enforce that? How to deport millions, if the US does not even know, where they live? We do not have any statistics which are more than estimates and extrapolations. Our laws do not permit to ask for "religion". How would you hence segregate people who practice their religion underground? Apart from the fact that I strongly believe that it is the wrong approach, it is not feasible.
I fail to see why you object so vehemently to it, while failing to offer a workable and realistic solution of your own.
I stated my ideas many times. Split the problem "Islam" up into realistic categories and address each category specifically. Just to mention our domestic minority, I recommend to isolate the radical cells, the fanatic teachers, and after due process deport them. Isolate the moderates and give them a platform. Tighten and enforce our legislature to counteract any form of radicalism. Support any effort to resurrect the core values and principles our country was built upon. Counteract the obesity of our society, involve the populus again, select leaders with charisma and vision, able to recreate patriotism across religions and subcultures. Enforce assimilation a la Switzerland, prevent ghettos and catering to minorities. Unify instead of alienate.
Noah – I saw it yesterday again, sitting with 1000 immigrants in a waiting room. (And that is just 1 location out of thousands, processing immigrants 5days, 8h/week.
The face of the US is changing. 60% Hispanics, 20% Asian, 10%, other (African and Eastern block), 1% white Caucasian, is what the mix currently looks like.
Now we can either accept this as a fact and make all newcomers true Americans, or we can lament and stand there complaining. I do not think that we have another option ( such as closing the borders), as immigration is a fundamental basis for the strength of this country (Innovation, military, understanding of others) and hence can not just be "abolished". America is strong, because we melted the best all these countries had to offer.(Mostly). If you knew, what the legal immigration process entails here, if you knew what it means to leave your country, home, friends, familiy to start anew in a foreign world, you would understand, what I mean with "the best". It is mostly courage, overcoming your fears and accepting change, what made most of these immigrants "the best".
" And yet despite decades of supposed efforts to wean ourselves of oil, we are still addicted and using more than ever. Be realistic. The oil cartels control government. You're never going to wean America from oil while they run things.
While you do make a good point here, the 20% of Oil coming from the middle east makes us as independent from potentially dangerous countries as never before. I allow myself to see it again as positive and admit at the same time, that there is much potential to further decrease it.
Well,, listening to the devil incorporate in that regard during his state of the union address, even staunch republicans seem to shift. Again – I see it as a positive sign, nothing more.
" The campaign in Irak was a master piece of conventional warfare, demonstrating the ability to adapt to any kind of enemy and minimize casualties."
On the contrary, the Iraq war has been a monumental example of utter stupidity and ignorance of the history of warfare. In our zeal to get to Baghdad, we failed to disarm and properly imprison enemy combatants after we pushed through a given area, we failed to secure those areas, and now those enemy combatants are back staging a guerilla warfare effort against us. We failed in the field of propaganda and psychological warfare when we failed to pound Fallujah into the dirt and allowed Al Sadr to continue living. He now runs the largest (and anti-American) terrorist militia in Iraq. We failed to secure the borders, which has allowed thousands of terrorist fighters to infiltrate from both Iran and Syria, and we have utterly failed to deter those countries from sending those terrorist fighters into Iraq. Everyone involved in the Iraq war (from a decision making and leadership role, not our brave soldiers on the ground) should hang their head in shame over such a mismanaged mess. If Rumsfeld had any integrity at all, he'd committ hara kiri (ritual suicide) over his actions, which have disgraced America and emboldened the enemy.
Let me clarify:
The shortcomings you rightfully mention were caused by politicians. I could not agree with you more, as far as Rumsfeld (or even Bush) are concerned. Now they even argue about measly 20k soldiers to follow through. People like Obama and the likes are a scary propositon for our future indeed." Not one single terror attack since 9/11 here in a very vulnerable country is one hell of an achievement by the"War On Terror" Don't be so fast to attribute that to the "war on terror", which is an idiotic misnomer. It defies common sense to believe that the "war on terror" is the reason that no major terror attacks have occurred on American soil since 9/11. Give me 12 fanatics and $100,000 and I could shut this country down and destroy the economy in 3 hours flat (no, I will not give you details under any circumstance). The terrorists are not that stupid. If they wanted to destroy our economy, if they wanted to cause unimaginable problems for our entire society, it would not take nuclear weapons or other WMDs.
I touched on the subject myself. The real danger lays in a soft target approach. America is vulnerable indeed and some of the lack of success of Al Khaeda must be attributed to their own idiocy or Napoleon Complex. Nevertheless, Their operations have been severely impacted and being on the run is not conducive to plan and carry out further such attacks. For instance air travel security is significantly improved (I cursed it myself oftentimes).There must be another explanation, because it is easily within their power to do so. And that explanation is that their tactics and goals preclude another attack on America. Such an attack would reverse the worldwide erosion of support for the war in Iraq, which would be counter-productive to their current goals.
I agree but see the above only as one of several aspects. After 9/11 the world came together in an unheard of manner and it may well be, that fear of unification of the western world made them shift strategy. It is a plausible explanation, yet one of many.
Boy, are you in for a big surprise when you get here! No, you cannot speak your mind freely in America. If you criticize Islam, your radio talk show gets yanked off the air. If you say something truthful about Mexicans, you lose your government job. If you say the wrong thing (though it is the absolute truth), you lose the election. You cannot mention God or Jesus in your graduation speech. Your blog gets shut down if you have political commentary, and they are trying to enact laws to limit political free speech online. So no, you cannot speak your mind freely in America.
I am already here for now 13 years. And I have voiced harsh critique even in public. I have not been censored here, when I dared to point a finger at Christians, Hispanics, even our own black minority.
"You yourself have used that as an argument, that Muslims use that very exact freedom to spread their lies….."Yes, because the right of free speech is applied only to the enemies of the state and our culture. Islam is free to speak lies and propaganda and to disparage Christians and Jews without any threat of legal repercussion, but Catholic and Christian churches who simply preach their beliefs within their own church by saying they do not condone homosexuality end up with ministers and priests in jail, tax benefits lost, etc. America is a mess!
Mamma Mia, Noah – only the enemies enjoy it? Listen to yourself. As if some evil government or movement empowers only the enemies of state to pervert our freedoms. Its being perverted from all sides and corners of our society, starting with OJ Simpson to ACLU. Any form of enemy of the state is using our liberties to further their goals, not just Muslims.
"I do not allow them anything. As soon as I can vote, my voice will speak against such."And your voice will be meaningless. The goverment no longer fears the people...the people fear the goverment. Your vote cannot change things. Activist judges take upon themselves powers they are not allowed by the Constitution, and the Legislative branch does nothing to curb that usurption of power. Voting does not work. At this point, i fear only revolution can restore the USA to its Constitutional roots.
The age old excuse for any lazy whiner not to go to vote. ( Not that I call you so, I might add)
The sheeple are simply not movitvated. All they care about is the latest advance in HD tv, who the movie star of the day is sleeping with, and their own convenience and comfort. Americans watch on average 5 hours of tv a day! Add to that 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work, and two hours travelling to and from work. That leaves one free hour per day. Television and excess entertainment is eroding our nation like few other things can.
You are right. 100%. So why not try to motivate them? Or shall we just accept it as given? It starts with school, our children. It is a huge mountain of work, but as opposed to you, I feel that it can be done.
Really? That's why a group of patriotic motorcycle bikers had to form an organization in order to protect the funerals of servicemen, whose funerals were being desecrated by cretins who were against the war? That's why professors are allowed to remain in teaching positions in American colleges while telling our children that we need a thousand more Mogadishus and that they hope our soldiers die in the deserts of Iraq?
Exceptions like that are deplorable, but not the rule.
"I stand against intolerance and any form of radicalism from any side."Dishonest argument there. There is no intolerance from my side of the fence, outside of intolerance for terror and destruction of freedom and culture, which cannot be considered a bad thing. And my solutions are not at all radical, but indeed have been used in the past, successfully.
Common denominator – we both stand against terror and destruction.
"I am a relativist of the purest form. Reality, as you call it can be looked at from different angles and a variety of different conclusions can be derived." I don't accept the theory of moral relativism in any way for any reason. Show me an instance in which the rape of a child can be a "good" thing. Show me where the cold blooded murder of a single mother with 5 children is a good thing. Show me where blowing up 3,000 innocent people, destroying at least as many families, and wrecking the economy can be considered a godo thing. You cannot, because those things are universally evil, and no amount of twisting of words or concepts can transform them into good things.
You can not stop twisting my meanings to the absurd, can you? Of course the above are examples of absolute evil. I do not deny that absolute evil exist. There is no excuse for instance for what had been done 9/11. There is no excuse for the beheading of hostages. There is no excuse for Saddam's chemical warfare..no excuse for Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin. When I mention different conclusions, then I meant it more in terms of angles rather than 180 degrees opposite. Basically what you and I experience here, where we fundamentally agree on many dangers, examples, but my approach or solutions would take different angles.
" I challenge you to grab any paragraph out of the Koran for example ( or choose any other book) you like, then submit it to 10 different people from 10 different religious or cultural backgrounds and ask them to translate it or interprete it. Do it here as a lab experiment. You choose. My hypothesis: 10 differing interpretations. Wanna bet?" - - - - - Not at all interested. How the Koran is interpreted by the general masses is all that interests me. Clearly, it is mainly interpreted as violent. I can read all sorts of "cosmic meaning" into Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham , that does not mean it has any significance in reality.
Okay then – take a passage out of the Koran and see, how many different interpretations there are. I dare to offer the hypothesis that 10 different Muslims from 10 different environments will come up with 10 differing meanings.
" Those are superficial relationships and short term or intermittent. They do not reveal the reality of the matter. Again, try living openly as a Christian in Saudi Arabia, Iran, or the areas of Israel under control of the so-called "Palestinians". You'll quickly come to understand the reality of things, and see just how "friendly" the natives can be.
Superficial? Speak for yourself. Representative? Probably not. But am I prepared to putting these friends of mine into the same pot as Osama? Hell no!
It's you who are twisting the analogy. Yes, you can choose to love with the infection and forgo the amputation, but that would be an act of extreme stupidity, because it would result in death. Your analogy of the surgery killin the patient and the therapy being worse than the illness is inaccurate here, totally inaccurate. Removing the threat of Islam would not kill America nor would it be worse therapy than the illness itself.
Removing the threat of Islam would in my analogy seriously weaken America to say the least. Removing Islam by the means you promote would set precedence in any sense of the word and belay everything this country stands for. That therapy would make our founding fathers rotate in their graves.
Islam by its very nature is depraved and evil. There is no escaping that fact except through the escape of delusion or insanity. That does not mean all practicing Muslims are depraved, because some only practice certain aspects of the religion. But by definition a "good, practicing Muslim" is an enemy of freedom and an enemy of the USA. Furthermore, I an not condemning them but rather positing a situation in which they are forced to reform their religion or lose their privelege of living in America. Living in America is not a right, it is a privelege, and priveleges can be taken away.
I think we found the culprit, Noah. You measure Islam by the book. I measure Islam by the people who practice it. So what, if they practice only part of it. It is exactly those Muslims, I am not willing to condemn, and I believe that there are many more than you see. (here domestically)
We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty, to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.Note the words "insure domestic tranquility",
Which we stil have to a vast extent…
"promote the general welfare" and "secure the blessings of liberty for ourselve and our posterity". All of that is accomplished by removing Islam from America. Conversely, all of that is at risk by allowing it to remain.
… Is your opinion which I do not share.
Secondly, your portrayal of my strategy as "something Hitler would be proud of" is so inaccurate as to be offensive, and I believe you're doing that intentionally. I want you to show me how the enforced deportation of a group of subversives
No Problem there, if they are. And, if it is a group of militant fanatics and not an entire people. Rounding up an entire segment of our population, just because they are Muslims ( Hence discriminate for religion), then either force them to swear off their religion or be deported, even, if they have not been proven guilty of destabilization of the state, treason or murder, is, I can not see it any other way, the way of a totalitarian regime of the worst kind.
I rest my case. So much for the cold, pragmatic, logical person you describe yourself to be.
"Yes – to be truthful – the examples you mentioned were unnecessary and insane. "Really? So you would have preferred to forgo the nuclear strikes and instead mount a ground invasion which would have killed millions more on both sides? Interesting! And yet you cannot deny that WWII was won in a way in which our enemies became some of our staunchest allies, whereas the weak response we have against Islam is failing to "win the hearts and minds", much less the war. "Adding insult to injury, as the outcome at that moment was predestined already." Again, wrong. There were elements in their military trying to take over and continue the war. It would have resulted in years more fighting at the cost of millions more lives.
Moot point. ( Hope I got it right this time, lol) Again a variety of differing opinions. As far as Germany is concerned I even tend to agree, as some technology may have indeed prolonged the war. In the case of Japan however, the war would not have lasted much longer. Again a tough question and certainly understandable that the US preferred to not loose another 50k soldiers but rather kill a few 100k Japanese - after all we did not start the war. I certainly will not be the judge and respect the ones having to taking this brutal decision.
There is no such thing as a utopia on earth. That's a pipe dream believed only by fools. History shows us that. Human nature shows us that.
Just a word. We progress, we evolve - hopefully for the better. One day human nature to wage war or engage in any form of violence must be overcome, otherwise sooner or later a bio weapon will be released which will extinct us. Will we evolve? Will we mature as a species? Odds are really lousy.
"I find myself appalled and helpless in the face of such extreme opinions. How can diametrically opposing cultures and religions find dialogue and compromise, if not even we, members of the same society, Western republicans can not find common ground?" Precisely why we are doomed. Is it sinking in yet?
Noah – all I can say is that I hope you are wrong. And that I am not willing to accept defeat quite yet.
You clearly don't know what you're talking about. I am hardly "fanatical" in the manner you propose. I am adamant in my views and insist on realism, I am not swayed by New Age psychobabble or moral relativist theory, and I am unrelenting in pursuing a course of action that preserves the culture and freedoms of my country.
Which is, why I respect you, even though I can not buy into your course of action.
Sure we can. Reality is the common ground of sane people. If Islam reforms itself into a peaceful religion, I have no problem with it. Our common ground should be "what must be done to promote peace, happiness, freedom, and life to both America and Islam?". And the answer to that is "reform",
So far absolutely with you.
which in reality must be an enforced reform, much like an alcoholic or drug addict needs an intervention, or a cult member needs a snapper to remove them from the cult.
Here is, where we go different ways. The "alcoholic" in your analogy must come to the realization of the need to reform. We can offer help and support in this effort, but we can not – unless directly, provenly threatened – put a gun on their chest and demand it. (I speak again in a domestic context)
Reform is the only solution because Islam as it exists will always be an enemy to freedom and to America, and their fanaticism and the seriousness of their threats demand an extreme reaction. By deporting and isolating them, we force them to either reform or to remain isolated. Either way, America and the West is spared a lot of grief, and Islam is given a chance to fix itself. My method actually lessens the chances of nuclear annihilation despite the emphasis on the willingness to use it, and spares more lives than any other method you can name.
In a cruel way your logic is stringent. Yet, I can't help myself to ask, if the "ugly Muslim" you and Susan depict is really the majority here in the US?
You say it is - I say it ain't. No compromise possible here. No resolution.
At least you take a stand and try in your own way to assist preserving our way of life. Nothing more than I do too, taking a different route. To end this debate on a good note I'll try to see the common aspects:
Ø Both of us are passionate about the superiority of the system we call Democracy
Ø Both of us want to preserve our way of life
Ø Both of us see the dangers of Radical Fundamental, Muslim terrorism
Ø Both of us see a sad state of the affairs within the western society
Ø Both of us feel miserably represented by our current leaders
Ø Both of us see the US constitution being perverted
Ø We agree on IRAN, Saudi Arabia and Syria being true enemies of the USA which needed to be dealt with decisively up to and not limited to intrusive means
Ø We agree on the (terrible) MO we may be forced to take towards IRAN.
Ø We agree on strongly opposing the fanatic teachers of ISLAM a la Birmingham, wherever they appear.
Ø Both of us agree about the cowardly silence of many moderates, who by definition become guilty due to inaction.
As strongly as we seem to disagree about MO, classifications and categories, I see above as not irrelevant. If we were forced to come to an agreement, the above could be a place to start from.
You are more pessimistic in your approach and outlook (Call it realistic, if you wish), whereas I still have some optimism left (call me fool, if you wish). But abandoning hope is simply not in my design.
Reading the aforementioned article about the second holocaust we may see during the very next decade, I am distinctly afraid that you may be proven right in many things, as this would be a grim scenario with a high level of probability at present conditions.
Good luck to us all.
See ya on cloud seven.
Should you come to CA - look me up ( you got my e-mail) , as I gladly buy you one.
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".
Reader comments (2101) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes