Via Aravosis, Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff of Die Zeit comments on the cartoon controversy in tomorrow’s Post:
Last week the publication I work for, the German newsweekly Die Zeit, printed one of the controversial caricatures of the prophet Muhammad….
In this jihad over humor, tolerance is disdained by people who demand it of others. The authoritarian governments that claim to speak on behalf of Europe’s supposedly oppressed Muslim minorities practice systematic repression against their own religious minorities. They have radicalized what was at first a difficult question. Now they are asking not for respect but for submission. They want non-Muslims in Europe to live by Muslim rules.
This is exactly what I was talking about on Sunday. I wasn’t claiming that Europeans have any problem with authoritarianism in general, which they don’t. Authoritarian governments come and go. Rather, and this applies much more to some European countries than to others, the question of mixing religious authority with civil authority is simply anathema. To many it’s as offensive as the cartoons of Mohammad are to the rioters.
Here that simply isn’t the case. You don’t have to argue that the religious right controls America to observe that as a country we have less of a problem with a fundamentalist religious viewpoint, and with the interdigitation of civil and religious authority.
This whole issue is unbelievable to me. The Muslims cannot expect the world to bow to their own beliefs.
I’m watching CNNi right now and they’re doing an extended bit on the cartoons. I’ve been away from 24-hour news TV for a long time but it really shocks me how much they miss the point.
For one thing, they’re interspersing shots of mobs burning flags and attacking embassies with shots of the newspapers where the cartoons appeared — _with the cartoons blurred out_. The newscaster then read the slogans of some of the threatening signs that the mobs were carrying.
Am I crazy, or are these shots of mob violence and angry threats offensive in all the same ways as the cartoons themselves? Recall that the initial reaction to the cartoons was not anger simply because of the depiction of Muhammad, but anger that the media was trying to portray Muslims as violent extremists. This initially ignored outcry seems to have been largely correct, since there are more cameras on these violent extremists than on an L.A. courthouse when Michael Jackson is in town.
The newscaster is taking pains to remind us that this violence is raging _throughout_ the Muslim world. He has said several times that the people are offended by the content of the cartoons, and only once has said that, quote, politics may be a factor.
Why anyone is surprised by this is beyond me. Par for the radical Muslim course. I see the UN is on the run, again.
Those cartoons ran in September of 2005, why the political outrage now? Iran may be showing Europe its power at stirring up the crazies.
Just to be clear, the double standard that I deplore here is that, by blurring out the cartoons, CNN is making the assertion that by running cartoons depicting Muslims as violent thugs, the media is being crude and biased in a more serious way than when they cherrypick shots of angry, violent extremists and bring you the worst of their threatening slogans.
The current press coverage is of a kind with the coverage that provoked this outcry in the first place. Insulting the intelligence of the viewers, as well as the rioters, by continuing to claim that the cartoons are the most salient factor here is a major disservice.
That’s exactly true, Stormy. Especially since, as the people dealing with this violence know, the violence is not spontaneous but is being organized with modern communications technology. So it’s obvious that the original publication of the cartoons, and thus the context and content of the cartoons, is _not_ what provoked the current wave of violence.
It probably was Iran. Surely it couldn’t have been any of the radical elements within, say, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, because those aren’t countries we’re looking for an excuse to invade.
Bill over at INDC Journal has an interesting post on this as a continuation of a point he has been pushing and one he has taken some flak for. I recommend it.
You’re excactly right stormy, except the part where you’re wrong. It wasn’t Iran that dragged this old dead horse out to beat on it for a while, it was our friends in Saudi.
Iran may be showing Europe its power at stirring up the crazies.
Precisely. The authoritarian governments of the Muslim world (most notably Iran, Syria and Egypt) are using the cartoon issue to stir up their populations out of pure desperation. By feeding the fires of religious and nationalist fervor, the authoritarian governments are able to distract their populaces from their own inherent corruption and oppression and focus the peoples’ attention towards a common contrived enemy—the West.
Noooo. CNN is blurring the cartoons because they ARE offensive. Clearly depicting Allah is an offense to the Muslim relighion. Why? Because they say so.
The issues are whether being offended is license to riot. And whether the standards of conduct used to run the media in Saudia Arabia should apply in Denmark.
It isn’t and it doesn’t.
Remember that next time some Republican prig goes off on Robert Maplethorpe.
I don’t know who it is thats saying this is coming from Iran but I guess the truth of this matter will soon go down the right wing memory hole. SAUDI ARABIA dredged up this piece of shit story to deflect attention off of their own governmental shortcomings. You see there was a big stink about a Saudi failure to correct some public safety issues related to a recent religious holiday (hajj I believe)…. Basically they failed to widen some streets and over 100 people got trampled to death in this religious pilgramage. The people were pissed since they had promised to fix this problem 2 years ago. Our friends in Saudi have chosen to enflam an already volatile situation, at our expense, to save face for their regime. Iran does enough bullshit, but just like most of the 9-11 hijackers, Saudi Arabia is behind this one.
I don’t think that’s accurate, comandante agi. Authoritarian governments, particularly ones with a loose grasp on power, don’t _want_ angry mobs in the streets. They want the people to be complacent and happy.
On the other hand, those in _opposition_ to authoritarian government love angry mobs in the street, for obvious reasons. These are the people who are stoking the fires, and they count our good friend al-Sadr among their number.
Actually, as Castro is demonstrating now, authoritarian governments enjoy having angry mobs on the streets that are hating the right thing. The theory probably goes that it is much easier to channel the hatred away from the government in power and towards something external than it is to satisfy the population.
D. Mason, the controversy was already ongoing before the hajj, so how could that be?
Juan Cole here reprints a FISA press packet on the riots.
This is just like claiming that the Afghanistan Riots were because of a Newsweek article about pissing on Korans, its full of misdirection and ignorance.
Why? Why are these riots being blamed on the wrong trigger, AGAIN?
Egyptians aren’t trying to stir up religious fervor in their country. Just as many of the ME governments that are speaking out against the cartoons and the Dutch are not trying to stir up their populace with religion. Many of these governments are trending towards the secular and the West.
What they are seeing in Iraq and Palestine is scaring them. They see Shiite fundies elected in Iraq, and Hamas elected in Palestine. Egypt is looking over their shoulder and seeing the Muslim Brotherhood become more popular by the day. They see this as a chance to play to their fundie bases without actually doing anything. Criticizing a cartoon is easier than invading Israel.
Most, if not all, of the major protests and riots were organized by religious fringe leaders. A small percentage of muslims around the world thought that the right response to these cartoons was to take to the streets and burn embassies. Some of our religious leaders picket military funerals to protest homosexuality. I don’t think we should judge a religion, or a region based on Fred Phelps. Radical Muslim leaders have realized the power of TV just as Pat Robertson and his ilk did a generation ago. A few hundred rioters on film can make it look like the muslim world is in a rage.
Castro has been leading his people to burn embassies? Boy, how’d I miss that?
Angry, violent mobs are a destabilizing effect and no capable authoritarian leader would intentionally provoke them. The Syrian government, which is hanging by a thread, has urged calm and sent prominent clerics out to do the same.
I cannot have total confidence in a thread that contains the word “interdigitation.”
I’ve seen it before, but I just can’t put my finger on it …
Am I a traitor if I mention that it may not be the greatest situation for the US if we liberate all the ME nations and watch them elect Hamas style, West hating fundamentalist governments?
yes, there was some minor reporting on it at the time, but it was small potatos, as your link indicates. I said they dragged this dead horse back out, not that they started it. No the saudis didn’t start this thing, they just brought it back out to whip the people into a frenzy, and it worked. This might be their 9-11 the issue that they use to get their fanatics frothing when they need it, who knows. However, it isn’t the Iranians and it sickens me that these riots (caused by our buddies in Saudi) will ulitmately be used to support another war of aggression, irrespective of what really happened.
Freedom is on the march.
The controversy has been slowly growing since September, and has received several major jolts from both the European and Muslim sides. Now that it’s this big, it is becoming a self-perpetuating force. To suggest that it’s all cooked up by the Saudis is to give them too much credit as well as to ignore the many, many actors all exploiting the controversy for their own ends.
I don’t think it’s really fair and balanced for them to run all those Mohammad cartoons, especially when they wouldn’t run a Jesus cartoon.
No, it is simply the price you pay. You can either be for elections that can lead to democratic government or you can be a hypocrite. The US tried the hypocrite way for many years (as did other countries in the west) and now they are trying the other way. Personally I was against the Iraq war in the way it was sold and carried out, but think that removing Saddam and providing the people of Iraq with a choice on their future is a laudable outcome. What they do with that choice is their concern and we can only hope that the situation improves in the future.
And, everyone that was so ready to give President Bush the credit for:
1) Lybia ending production of an anemic WMD program
2) Lebanon’s democratic movement (that wasn’t at all caused by a 20 year movement coupled with the assassination of one of the most popular pro-democracy anti Syria leaders in Lebanon)
3) “Free and fair” elections in Egypt
Are you willing to give the president and the War in Iraq the credit it deserves in provoking anti-Western emotions to the point that they are rioting in the streets over cartoons? Or in the election of Hamas? Or in the surge of support for the Muslim Brotherhood? Or the newly elected president of Iran?
It also seems a bit bizarre to assert that Saudi Arabia can’t handle the logistics of the longest-running religious festival in the region, but that within a week they can summon impassioned mobs to burn any embassy in the Muslim world.
Ah yes, Kav thinks you can create Democracy at the end of the barrel of a gun. Keep up the big thinking, Kav, it really appears to be working out well for you.
Psst: there’s another option that doesn’t involve nation building. Also, how is invading, conquering, and overthrowing a sovereign government in the name of ‘freedom’ not hypocritical?
Well, I’m sure you’re right, but you can’t possibly mean to suggest there’s some kind of connection between our invading the ME and the ME electing governments that hate us. That’s pre-9/11 thinking. These days, we understand that people love freedom, and are grateful for being liberated. Hamas simply wants to “pay it forward” and liberate Israel now.
Richard, I am a bit confused with your statement. The cartoons focus on Muhammed. Did you mean Muhammed?
If so, then the prohibition against depictions of Muhammed is certainly not universal.
Here is a good source.
What is my other statement or action that contradicts the statement you responded to? Hypocrisy needs both. Or you can just call me names.
If you look back over the years (of course that is rhetorical) you will see that I have been quite consistent. We don’t have the ability to spread democracy through war. We can’t invade sovereign nations that are no threat to us and expect the occupied to respond favorably. We shouldn’t spend billions and thousands of lives for some liberal pipedream, even if it is led by a so called conservative.
I was all riled up to fight back, and then I realized you were DougJ’ing me. (can we use that as a verb?)
Its not cool for Christians to draw pictures of God either but we do it and rationalize it for some reason. There’s a commandment being violated there.
Saudi Arabia made a huge issue out of cartoons appearing in the newspapers to deflect attention away from their own corruption. Same reason they promote wahabiism. Keep the population focused on something other than tearing down the ruling family.
There is nothing “loose” about the governments in Egypt, Saudi and Iran. Our current regime is closer to toppling than they are. The medium is the message, and in those states, the medium and message are tightly controlled.
But as gratefulcub implies, destabalizing the ME will create a vacuum. And the clerics will fill that vacuum with their message. The idea that the values of Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton will play better over there than Sheik Al-Falwell are insane. Those values don’t even play well here anymore. If we don’t get it, how can we expect them to?
Clearly I am not as smooth as DougJ. I need to try these lines earlier in the morning to have a better chance of fooling anyone.
I remember a few years back there was a candidate who said he didn’t believe in nation-building. If only we had elected that visionary man, think how different things might have turned out. Does anyone remember his name?
I do but I’m not tellin’.
You should read up about the logistics of it. They handle it spectacularly well, considering. The problem is crowd control, and it’s the biggest crowd in the world.
When you and your friends control the editorial content of most or all of the media outlets in the ME, paying off a few clerics to lead the crowd is pretty easy.
Give me editorial control over any major paper in the US and I’ll have a mob on your lawn tomorrow.
Easy. When that “sovereign government” (here go the Saddam apologists again) is not serving at the will of its people, but by brutal repression and suppression of the majority. Was that supposed to be a hard question?
I did not mean to insult you, though I can easily see why you might get the impression, apologies. My comment was overly simplistic to make a point and my use of ‘you’ was in place of the more correct ‘one’. Quite frankly my sentiments over how we got into this mess run closer to what Pb said in response to my comments. If it had been my decision, I would not have invaded at that time. If it had been my decision I might have pushed through to Iraq back in the 90s in the first gulf war when we might actually have been justified. Unlike now, when we were not.
My point was not to try and justify the war but to point out the situation we have unfortunatley landed in at this point, i.e. we invaded a sovereign nation and overthrew an admittedly coorupt government on a false and dodgy pretext. Now we have the choice of continuing a more historic trend of installing and supporting a puppet that is pro-west, or we can promote free elections and hope that the end result is good for us as well as for the Iraqi people.
No, Kav doesn’t and if you read what I said you will see that I didn’t say that. I am sorry if my words gave that impression because they were not intended to. To reiterate I am talking about dealing with the situation we find ourselves in now rather than worrying about how we got there. Not that I don’t worry about how we got here but that was not the focus of my comment.
Pb, I see where you are coming from, do you see that I meant our actions after the fact rather than from the persepctive of before we launched the war?
I have to disagree with that. Authoritarian regimes always have a loose grip on power, that is why they don’t last all that long. The dream of a dictator is to die in his sleep, they usually end up on the business end of a meat hook. Their demise usually happens quickly, or at least it appears like that to those on the outside. They beat down opposition, so it isn’t seen by the outside world until it takes to the streets in mass.
Iran can’t be grouped with SA, Egypt and the rest. Iran is composed of a religious government trying to fight back the tide of a secular population (in comparison to the mullahs). They are young, 30 and under. They have forgotten the Shah, so they have forgotten why the mullahs were supported in the first place. The Mullahs have rallied around the cartoon controversy because it is what they do.
Egypt is a secular suit wearing govt. They are fighting the Muslim Brotherhood and other fundamentalist factions. They are using this controversy to appear closer to the MB to fight the perception that they have made Egypt weak by being puppets for the west. SA, as many have mentioned, use the cartoons and everything else to focus the anger of their population on something other than the House of Saud. Incompetent and corrupt. They take the treasure of the nation and use it for lifestyle enhancement, completely contradictory to the teaching of the prophet. This doesn’t go unnoticed, so they try to spin themselves as ultra-religious. But the abject poverty of the nation, that should be able to support all of its people well, has a destabilizing effect. Just as a religious movement would have on Egypt. Or a secular movement in Iran.
Iraq was never nation-building by definition. It was war and reconstruction. Not the same thing at all. “Nation-building” is strictly for humanitarian purposes, and no one ever argued that we went into Iraq solely on humanitarian grounds.
The Other Steve
Then you clearly have not been paying attention.
THIS IS STANDARD PRACTICE in the middle east, has been for years. A large part of the Palestinian issue is because repressive regimes in Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc. use it to their advantage.
The people in their countries are angry. Why are they angry? Probably because they don’t have jobs, are repressed etc. You think this repressive regimes want them to realize that? No! It’s not their fault.
It’s the fault of THOSE GUYS OVER THERE!
Where those guys can be defined as Jews, Danes, whatever the outrage of the day is…
The Other Steve
In the context of 2000, “Nation-building” was about Kosovo… which was about war and reconstruction.
Quit trying to move the goal lines.
I have to disagree with that. Authoritarian regimes always have a loose grip on power, that is why they don’t last all that long. The dream of a dictator is to die in his sleep, they usually end up on the business end of a meat hook.
Absolutely true. Look at the fate of Pinochet. It’s hard to see how things could have turned out any _better_ for him, which must be cold comfort.
See, people, if you don’t call it nation-building, then it isn’t! You just change the definition of things and suddenly you arn’t doing it anymore.
This also works for: lying, misdirecting, and many other political functions.
The Other Steve
Sounds like an argument for supporting a rebellion, not an invasion.
My bad, I wasn’t really offended. I was just playing up my hurt feelings for fun, hypocrite is tame for this group.
I do understand what you are saying. We are there, what do we leave. I want to leave the same thing the W does, the difference is that I never thought it was possible. I don’t think a democratic republic that respects minority rights is possible. It is something special when you get a nation to realize the pros of a republic and the cons of a democracy. To get a country to realize the good in allowing a few judges to overrule 90% of the populace at times is near impossible. We don’t even have that here at this point, but we are much closer than Iraq is going to be in my lifetime.
So, the best we can hope for is a majority rule that is oppressive to the minority, as opposed to the minority that oppressed the majority. And it will not be pro-US. So, is it worth our treasure and blood to flip the scales in Iraq, if the costs are going to be more anti US sentiments throughout a region teetering with instability. A true democratic movement that resulted from the Iraq invasion would be devastating for the US, and the West.
gratefulcub, I don’t disagree with your analysis of who controls those countries, but I don’t think they’re weak or “loose”. Egypt has had the MB in check for a long time, at least until we thought opening up elections would be a good idea…
Bombing/invading Iran will just push the youth back into the Mullahs embrace. It’s pretty clear how the current strategy is going to turn out. All of my Iranian friends who used to say – “just wait 20 years, it’ll all work out” are now singing a very, very sad tune now.
Saudi Arabia. Shit, with oil at $60/barrel, the natives will be kept plenty happy for a long time. Generations. It would be wonderful if we’d left the ME alone, and low oil prices would have destablized SA. Osama would be leader, and if 9/11 had still happened we’d have a nice, fat, juicy target of a country.
But now we’ll have a world of independent actors and few targets.
Ah, Mac, thanks for that laugh. I clearly, yes – it is seared into my memory, remember this being sold as a war of reconstruction…
Well its not the best we can hope for but I fear that it is the best we will get. Was it worth it? Will it be worth it? Most of me says no, part of me says wait and see what happens in the future. But that is the small squeaky optimistic side of me that has often been crushed under the weight of cynicism in times gone by. Anyway, this is wandering rapidly off-topic and so I am going to shut up unless someone else misconstrues what I said or insults me. :-)
I think you are confusing cause and effect, Other Steve. Authoritarian regimes often lead to angry mobs in the street, in the same way as blisters often lead to pus.
I think some people here are confusing mass-demonstrations with violent mobs, by the way.
I read on Stratfor that the Syrian security forces protected the U.S. embassy but did not protect the Danish embassy. To them, this was proof that the Syrians condoned the attack. To me, this was proof that the Syrians were afraid to engage with the protesters, but even more afraid to engage with the Americans.
I don’t mean that the ruling parties are on the verge of collapse. But, you can see their weakness by their attempts to placate some segment of their population.
I completely agree with your assessment of Iran. We set back the revolution in that country a generation. Invading it would be a disaster. Iraq at least had factions that either supported us, or at least didn’t hate the idea of us being there. Iran has no such factions. The young generation may not like the mullahs, but they are still nationalistic, and they don’t like being bullied. We would have no friends in Iran if we invaded.
SA should be able to keep everyone happy with oil money, but they won’t. They will just build more palaces and drive more Mercedes. IMO, we will see the fall of that government in the next generation. They have little popular support.
Egypt has had the Muslim Brotherhood in check, but that has been changing. They have built a movement over the past couple of decades, but the Iraq war was a great recruiting war for them as well. Now they are preaching that the Egyptian regime is a puppet of the west, and that they want to return Egypt to an great Islamic state. They are gaining traction, and if they weren’t banned from elections, they would have won a large minority. Egypt doesn’t fear the MB party, but the movement towards fundamentalism in Egypt and the region has to make them uneasy.
You forgot the ocean of oil.
Could that have anything to do with CNN showing pictures of a burning embassy and burning cars while telling us in a harrowing voice that the ‘riots’ have spread to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Laundry List of evil countries…….and not sharing with us the fact that most of the demonstrations were small and non-violent?
You never fail to be full of crap. I await your invasion of North Korea, China, much of Africa, etc.
Yes, Kosovo was nation-building by definition – purely to stop the genocide. Iraq was not. I fail to see what is so hard about the distinction, except that you guys have been hearing the “Bush flip-flopped on nation-building” meme for so long that you can’t accept that it was, and always has been a lie meant to fool the ignorant.
Either you misread, or you are irretrievably dense. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt…once. Read mine again.
Why are you such an apologist for the regimes of Uzbekistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Congo, the Ivory Coast and North Korea?
If I am a SH apologist for not wanting to invade Iraq………
I love the, it wasn’t nation building comment. I can see W coming up with it himself:
Q: Mr President, why are we invading Iraq?
A: They are a grave and growing threat, and they have WMD.
Q: There are no WMD, were we right to invade?
A: Of course, we didn’t invade because they were a grave a growing threat. We invaded to spread democracy.
Q: But you said you were against nation building?
A: I am, but they were a grave and growing threat, we didn’t invade to spread democracy.
Q: Can I ask a follow up?
A: Nope, Stretch, what’d ya got for me?
Q: Mr. President, don’t you find it traitorous to infer that you are spying on Americans
A: I’m glad you asked, ……..
Stoping genocide – Bad.
Overthrowing a dictator – Good.
got it now?
With our aid, they tried rebellion first, but it only served to fill up some more mass graves. When the other side has the army and the vast majority of weapons, and will kill you, your parents, your wife, your kids, your aunts and uncles, etc., if they even suspect you might have knowledge of a plot against the government, it’s difficult for rebels to succeed.
Regardless, invasion is not hypocritical in this case, which was the point all along to the apologist for Saddam’s “sovereign nation.”
That response was to Pb, and had nothing to do with you.
Yeah, words have these things called “definitions.” They can be found in “dictionaries.” They tell smart people what a word means and doesn’t mean.
Why exactly is stopping genocide bad?
OK. Then I will just ask you. What makes someone that didn’t want to invade Iraq a SH apologist, but not wanting to invade the laundry list of dictators still active does not make you an apologist?
How does it follow that anyone must invade any of these countries?
Invadine a country, deposing it’s government, setting up a new government, setting up ministries to run domestic affairs, training a new military, all while keeping order with 100+thousand troops is, by definition, nation building.
You can say that we were forced to nation build, you can say that the intent wasn’t to nation build but was to protect america and nation building was an unfortunate consequence. But really, by any definition, what is going on in Iraq is nation building.
Easy — when he whines that Saddam ruled a “sovereign state,” so it wasn’t fair for us to invade, ignoring that he did not rule that state by the will of the people, but by brutality and violence, that’s what makes him sound like an apologist. Problem with that?
Because, unless you were talking about the strawman that is out there saying SH wasn’t that bad, you are saying that those of us that didn’t want to invade Iraq are apologists for SH. So, by that logic, anyone that doesn’t want to invade uzbekistan is a Kirov apologist.
Is it worth pointing out that the US also doesn’t rule Iraq by the will of the people?
I know it’s not worth pointing out that Mac Buckeys is a Bush apologist.
I’m not sure which “dictionary” you looked up “nation-building” in. I’ve never heard anyone argue that the post-war reconstruction of Germany and Japan wasn’t “nation-building,” so I await your citation to the “dictionary” which proves me wrong.
I used sovereign nation, but that is close enough for me to say: him was me.
You want to teach us about definitions, I must hear what the definition of sovereign state is, because the one I am familiar with would include the former Iraq, as well as Uzbekistan of today.
Steve, Mac Buckets,
I don’t think you’ll find “nation building” in your average dictionary, but the smart people over at RAND seem to agree that Germany, Japan, and Iraq all qualify, along with Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.
I agree – my god I can’t beleive I am agreeing with Stormy! :)
Perhaps not Iran, but given the time between the publication and the protests, some planning was certainly afoot. Mass demonstrations inspired by anger tend to happen instantly (LA riots for example). This sort of thing would indicate it took time for the protest order to be given.
Sorry, but you’re just plain old wrong, although it’s not really your fault, as the left has been actively trying to change the popular definition so that it includes Iraq, so they can skewer Bush on it. Post-WWII Germany and Japan were not nation-building. That was reconstruction. Iraq was not nation-building (likewise, reconstruction). Kosovo was classic nation-building — there was no perceived threat to the US or its allies; we just wanted to save the ethnic Albanians from Milosevic.
Nation-building has a precise definition regarding the motive for military intervention, and you can’t just ignore it. When Bush said he was against nation-building, he was aware that the definition restricted the motive for action to humanitarian grounds. That’s why the “flip-flop on nation-building” meme was a Kerry campaign lie, a lie that worked on people who don’t know what the word really means. Obviously, if there the US got involved in a war, we’ve always helped in the reconstruction.
The US doesn’t rule Iraq at all. You’re a little behind the times. And when we invaded, the polls overwhelmingly showed the people were glad we ousted Saddam.
George W. Bush back when he used to squint:
It’s not a meme or some sort of delusion – there was a radical shift in Bush’s attitude towards foreign policy. Most argue the old line “9/11 changed everything,” but that is an oversimplification. What 9/11 SHOULD have changed was how we conduct security here at home.
The Bush Doctrine is something far more radical – an overreaction, for which we are now paying a price: decreased stability and increased radicalism.
Mac Buckets, can you please show us your smart person dictionary that has “nation-building” in it? My dictionary is apparently for stupid people.
The US doesn’t rule Iraq at all. You’re a little behind the times. And when we invaded, the polls overwhelmingly showed the people were glad we ousted Saddam.
You’re kidding yourself. And, right now, American polls show that a majority of people disapprove of Bush, so I guess that we can count on your support when the tanks start rolling, right?
As I said, RAND would love to skewer Bush with the “nation builder” tag. Look what Bush was saying in his denunciation of nation-building. He drew a clear line between using US troops a war and nation-building. Why? Because he knew the difference. Iraq was a war — anybody up to arguing the converse?
That last comment was a bit of snark. I know that less than a majority would support a military coup. Then again, after a few weeks of Chinese carpet bombings and the start of an occupation, maybe the answer would be something different. Some things are unknowable, regardless of what lame _ex post facto_ rationalizations get dragged around.
I disagree. We haven’t been involved in Haitis, Kosovos, and Bosnias during Bush’s term. We’ve been involved in a war (or two, if you want to seperate Iraq), and Bush was crystal clear that he thought our troops should be used to fight wars, not to nation-build.
“SAUDI ARABIA dredged up this piece of shit story”
Maybe, but the first time it was dug up was by a Mr. Fleming Rose at the Danish paper, and Mr. Rose is an old pal of Daniel Pipes. Yeah, THAT Daniel Pipes.
So we have Mr. Rose, an avowed champion of free speech when it comes to infuriating Muslims, being close pals with the boss of Campus Watch— an organization formed to shut up Israel’s critics at US Universities.
There would be delicious irony here if that were all that is to it.
That fact is, neither Pipes nor Rose cares a fig about free speech. What they care about is first, marginalizing Muslims, then demonizing them.
I say this as one who has no pony in the race, I just don’t appreciate being played for a sucker.
You guys can argue the definition of “nation building” versus “reconstruction” all you want. The REAL issue is how Bush’s beliefs in how and when American military might should be projected/used changed radically. And how that radical shift put us in the situation we are in now: in Iraq, in dealing with Iran, Hamas, Syria, with the rioting (Cartoon Riots, Paris Suburb Riots, Sydney Race Riots), etc.
Besides, we are NOT nation building in Iraq. We haven’t reconstructed much of anything, either. We’ve just fucked it up royally.
Too bad Mr. “Goin’ With My Gut” Bush didn’t follow his first thoughts on the use of the military, huh? So much for being HUMBLE!
Indeed, the whole goal of the Christopaths is to incite the Muslims, then say “See? Muslims are all terrorists, we need to convert them all to Christianity or exterminate them!”. Don’t think Muslims don’t see this, either. That clearly-displayed sentiment is as much a reason why they are demonstrating as any other. (Note that I differentiate between demonstrations and acts of violence — the latter are completely unacceptable).
The moment that a major United States newspaper publishes a picture depicting Jesus Christ as a bomb-wielding terrorist with the phrase “Praise the Lord!” on His hat and there are no protests, demonstrations, etc. by radical Christians I’ll believe this is all about freedom of speech rather than hatred of Muslims. But the fact of the matter is that no U.S. (or Danish) newspaper would publish such a picture. Because, see, Jesus is more sacred than Mohammed. Mohammed is just, like, some brown wog guy, not a real Christian white man like you or I.
The most hilarious part is that the real Biblical Jesus was just as brown as Mohammed — they came from the same Semitic stock, after all. It’s interesting how the Biblical Jesus, a brown-skinned Jew from Palestine, somehow got morphed into a white-skinned Aryan over the centuries…
Ah yes, look at Bush being skewered by the liberal left over at moveon.org, RAND, and the Department of Defense. Sinister.
Yes, obviously George W. Bush is one of the smart people, far smarter than RAND. What would they know about war, anyhow. No, obviously you and Bush are right, and they’re wrong, and we aren’t nation building in Iraq, but rather, we’re at war with the Iraqi people.
Mac Buckets, Bush apologist.
This, I suppose, is a reference to George the First’s inciting the southern Iraqi Shia’s to rebellion and then leaving them in the lurch to be slaughtered by Saddam while our forces looked on passively. Similar to the “aid” given by Stalin to the Polish Home Army when they rose up against the Nazi occupation. Similar results too.
Mac’s world sure is a funny place.
I’d just like you to cite some source for your definition of nation-building. So far we’ve had some snark about dictionaries but not a lot else to support your view.
Something I’ve often found hilarious as well. Jesus probably looked more like Naveen Andrews than like Jim Caveziel. (And if so, no wonder he had so many followers!) Same thing with Mary — any depictions of the BVM always show her with pale skin, and very delicate anglo-saxon features. Silliness.
Oh, regarding Iraq: Polls now show that the majority of Iraqis want us gone. So why are we still there in defiance of the will of the majority of the Iraqi people? Could it have anything to do with the (doh) *OIL*?!
— Badtux the Snarky Penguin
Refresh my memory: When Newsweek published the stories about abuse of the Koran at Guantanomo last year, the conservative pundit-hadeen jumped all over the media because the story was supposedly going to provoke unrest and outrage among Muslims and endanger the lives of coalition servicemen. Flash forward to right now and Michelle Malkin, amongst many others in the Pyjamas Army of the Christian God, God are jumping all over the media for not publishing the Dutch cartoons, despite the fact that publication of the cartoons has provoked outrage and unrest amongst muslims and has endangered the lives of coalition servicemen. And in any case, what kind of traction did the Koran abuse story have over time? Just like the cartoons now, the wingers hoped that that story would provoke a conflagration in the East so that they could point there fingers, nod sagely, and say “look how much better us white christians are!” For myself, I am not sure why this case of radical islamists blowing things up in Afghanistan and Gaza is essentially any different than them blowing things up on any other day, for any other reason.
The Disenfranchised Voter
Are you seriously suggesting that Bush didn’t switch his stance on nation-building after he was elected?
I think even he might say that 9/11 changed his views on nation-building (though I can’t remember him saying it) but the fact remains that we have not undertaken nation-building under Bush. There have been several opportunities, and we haven’t taken them.
Of course, you are wrong. I’m referring to rebels funded under the Iraq Liberation Act, which Clinton signed in 1998 in an effort to overthrow Saddam because of the grave threat of his WMD.
If you lived in Mac’s World, you’d know these things!
Stilllllllll waiting for the dictionary that says Germany and Japan were not examples of nation-building.
Everyone who heard Bush at the time knew the difference between “war” (for security) and “nation-building” (for humanitarian purposes) because we’d just been through several years of Clinton’s humanitarian nation-building exercises. Every pundit, every politician, every political observer, and every leftist RANDian thinktank knew what Bush meant when he spoke of the difference — not one person said or wrote, “What’s the difference between war and nation-building? They are the same thing!”
But when they needed a response to the Kerry flip-flop stuff, the left pretended to forget the difference. I hate when people have to pretend to be stupid in order to keep a silly, election-year meme alive.
And we were at war with some of the Iraqi people, absolutely. Again, I don’t see what is so difficult that you cannot fathom that.
I’ve got to say–you don’t have to pretend to be stupid, but at least what you do come up with is entertaining. Also, I have to commend you at bravely soldiering on in Bush’s defense when all the facts are against you. It takes stern resolve to stay the course in the face of such strong opposition.
a guy called larry
Oh, that’s it! Iraq was threatening our security with those WMD-payload drones, weren’t they. And we didn’t give a shit about their conditions under the dictator! It’s all clear now.
I suppose that depends on your definition of nation-building. Japan and Germany were coagulated entities by the time the US stepped in. Bismark had unified Germany some fifty years earlier. Japan had been unified for the past 100(?). The US engaged in reconstruction in Germany and Japan. The “nation building” aspect was rather trivial. Both countries were recovering from dictatorships, but Germany in particular was hardly foreign to democracy. And Japan preserved its monarchy taking on a more English Parlimentary system which – depending on who you ask – hasn’t been the most successful governing body.
Iraq is another story. Here the US really did tackle nation-building in the most hard core sense as it tried to unify three distinct and often inter-hostile racial groups. What the US is attempting today would be more comparable to desegregating the South than reconstructing Germany.
It is indeed quite silly–sad how insecure white people were hundreds of years ago that they demanded that contrary to all logic, the guy they claim was the messiah needed to look like them. Sadder still that people accept this “Jesus was a Middle Eastern dude, but he looks Icelandic” claptrap without a second thought in their heads. But then again, religion has never encouraged thinking.
As for this:
I assume, then, that you can point us to the declaration of war? Furthermore, you still owe Steve–and the rest of us–a dictionary citation.
Don’t expect any reputable sources or citations from Mac Buckets. Research is for peons. Besides, if he had done any due diligence, then he would found out how wrong he was. I told him that as well–and naturally he didn’t listen–but I’m not about to do his homework for him. However, one tidbit–Mac Buckets, why do the commies over at AEI hate America?
But Mac said:
I’m sure no one would be stupid enough to make such a comment if they did not, in fact, have such a dictionary at hand.
Silly silly SeesThroughIt,
We declared war on terror. Dear leader got that authorization days after 9/11. With that authorization, he can wiretap phones without that pesky FISA court, he can call himself the ‘war president’ and he can damned sure invade Iraq and call it a war.
You are probably talking about one of those beauracratic pieces of paper that has to go through Congress, and actual declaration of war. You are so pre 9/11. All you need to know now is: Badges, we don need no stinkin badges.
Sorry, gratefulcub. You have shown me the error of my ways. I just hope that in the interest of spreading democracy, the Prez lets everybody declare war on abstractions. Cuz I don’t know about the rest of y’all, but I’ve got a hankerin’ to declare some serious war on Things That Make Me Feel Bad. Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you, sore lower back! Don’t make me regime-change your ass!
Warm up to Torino! Don’t miss al-Jazeera’s pre-Olympic special, Wide World of Wahhabic Sports!
Bob In Pacifica
I think it was Richard Dawkins who said everyone is an atheist except for his own religion. The ban against pictures of Mohammed was to prevent him from becoming an icon. Feel the irony.
So did Mohammed fly up to heaven on a winged horse? Jesus walk on water and born of a virgin? Did Zeus have sex with a swan? Is there a guy with an elephant head with super powers? Do people get reincarnated? Do people go to heaven? Sorry, all the magic is a crock of shit, and everyone’s carrying a fantasyland in their head and everyone’s willing to kill to preserve their unreality.
Quickly, some odds and ends:
The next fact you show that troubles me will be the first. Go ahead. Give it a shot.
Get with the times. We haven’t declared wars since WWII, but we’ve fought them. We just use Congressional Resolutions now.
I don’t think I do (I was merely snarkily showing that words have definitions that do matter), but you can take this if you like:
Nation-building aims at unification, political stability, social harmony, and economic growth…like I said, humanitarian stuff. As opposed to security or removal of a threat, like in Iraq.
Still waiting for any source whatsoever to back you up on this.
For the last several decades, champions of nation-building have argued that Japan and Germany prove it can be done successfully.
And for those same several decades, opponents of nation-building have argued that Japan and Germany were special cases (for some of the reasons Zifnab points out, above), and that we can’t expect other nation-building exercises to be as successful.
But both sides agree that they were, in fact, nation-building. Only now does MacDictionary attempt to redefine the term from how it has been universally understood all these years, just so he can argue that Bush didn’t flip-flop. Dude, it’s not worth it.
Just as one example, here’s famed historian Stephen Ambrose, writing in National Review:
Well I guess Mac just showed you guys. We all know that none of the above listed requirements are taking place in Iraq…. George Bush DOESN’T believe in nation building. He believes in Nation fllecing, which is what he is doing to the US whenever he tells us to fork over some more billions to fix the mess he caused in Iraq. You see it’s all going to his buddies in the military-industrial complex, get with the times.
The Disenfranchised Voter
I still can’t get over the fact that Mac doesn’t consider our exercises in both Afghanistan, and even moreso Iraq, as nation-building.
Ay yae yae.
The Disenfranchised Voter
P.S. RAND is a leftist think tank?!
Well, you have to admit Mac Buckets has a point here. We sure as hell haven’t done much to unify Iraq, or promote “political stability, social harmony, and economic growth…”
Some say this is due to rampant incompetence by Bush’s appointees. Others suggest this was the plan all along. Who knows?
Cartoon collector Fleming Rose appeared on CNN tonight, talking quietly and artfully about free speech. Fleming Rose’s interest in the 1st amendment is rather selective, considering his admiration for free speech squelcher Daniel Pipes of Campus Watch. Here is Rose’s take on Pipes a while back. It certainly suggets that the 1st amendment was probably not Rose’s real agenda in the cartoon affair. Stirring up Muslims was his goal all along–ironically a goal that he and Al Qaeda have in common. Have a look
The Threat from Islam
by Flemming Rose
29 October 2004
Translated by Knekkeben at OD
There is no name-plate on the door, and it’s locked. The visitor has to make a quick visit to the neighbor’s to find if the address is correct. Yes, indeed it is: The Middle East Forum and Daniel Pipes are found on the tenth story in an anonymous skyscraper a stone’s throw from the building where the nation’s fathers collected in 1787 to write the country’s constitution. Somewhere down on the street below amble along a couple of middle-aged women with election-posters supporting John Kerry who are in the city to get their final punches in. Pennsylvania is one of the so-called “swing-states,” which can decide the presidential election on Tuesday.
Even Daniel Pipes doesn’t have any doubts where his sympathy lies. He votes for George W. Bush and describes himself as conservative. The 54-year-old historian with expertise in the Middle East and the Middle Ages has since 1994 stood at the top of the think-tank “The Middle East Forum,” which sees it as its task to “define and promote American interests in the Middle East.” Pipes spoke on and wrote about the threat from Islamicists long before September 11. As early as 1995, he stated that they had started an undeclared war against the USA and Europe. Pipes’ voice is so low that he has found it difficult to make himself heard over the buzzing noise from the modest office’s air-conditionerm, but nevertheless has this rasping voice caused furor in academic, Western-oriented and certain Muslim circles. When Pipes speaks on militant Islam at universities, he threatens his critics with “trouble” and boycotts. When he was appointed by president Bush to the board of directors at the government’s think-tank “US Institute for Peace” last year, he set off outrage, and it’s not an accident that there isn’t a name-plate on the think-tank’s front door.
A totalitarian ideology
Pipes has through 20 years wrote about and spoke of militant Islam as a totalitarian ideology in line with fascism and communism. He hasn’t since promoted this perspective on ideals, history and politics. Daniel Pipes’ father is named Richard Pipes, one of the 20 leading experts of this century in Russian and Soviet history, who, in conflict with the zeitgeist of the 1960’s and the 1970’s, insisted on both the Soviet regime’s totalitarian nature and hostile focus on the West’s liberal democracies. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. “The Islamicists’ agenda is very different than the communists’ and fascists’. It’s about belief, and, unlike communism and fascism, they don’t have large states like the Soviet Union and Germany behind them, but if one looks at methods and goals, the similarity is striking,” says Daniel Pipes. “All three ideologies are radical utopias, which basically have a theory for how the human race can be improved. Not more or less. All three are dominated by a small appointed elite which will realize this grandiose ideal. They’re prepared to use all conceivable means and are true believers, fanatics, and they don’t hesitate to resort to force and brutality to carry out their project. They don’t admit other perspectives and wish to control all aspects of life. Whenever it’s succeeded in a country, the ambition has been to develop its control over others, he adds. “The two earlier confrontations with communism and fascism shed light on the current conflict between the civilized world and militant Islam.
We defeated the first in a total war over a relatively short period, while the second conflict, the Cold War, lasted decades. In the third, militant Islam is the challenge. The kernel of militant Islam’s ideology is hidden in the expression ‘el Islam wul hal’, which means: Islam is the solution. Despite what the question revolves around, education, upbringing, romance, public or private affairs, Islam has the answer. That’s the recipe for a totalitarian ideology.”
Other than terror
Daniel Pipes’ fascination with Islam and the Middle East began, when he, in the beginning of the 1970’s, lived in Egypt. At that time, he didn’t perceive Islamism as a threat. It happened first with the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, the assassination of Egypt’s president Anwar Sadat two years later, and a wave of assaults on American interests in the region. Pipes believes that it’s misleading to talk about the current conflict with the Islamicists as a war against terror. He points out that mistaken definitions and concepts lead to mistaken proposals for solutions. When President Bush goes from stating the figure of killed leaders of Al Qaida to explaining how the war against terror is going, he misses his mark. “That says nothing or very little. It’s a euphemism, a circumlocution, to talk about a terror-threat or a war against terror. Terror is a tactic, not an enemy. Nor do we say, here in the USA, that the Second World War was about blitzkrieg. That was a war against fascism,” declares Daniel Pipes.
Moderates should be suppported
He lays great importance on the fact that the conflict doesn’t concern Islam as a private belief, but rather militant Islam, an aggressive, political ideology which works for the establishment of Islamic law, Sharia, everywhere in the world. This difference implies the germ of the conflict’s solution. “If militant Islam is the problem, then the opposite, moderate Islam, must be the solution,” concludes Daniel Pipes. “I don’t believe that Islam once and for all is doomed to be on a collision-course with the modern world. The majority of Muslims don’t want to live under the Taliban in Afghanistan. There are millions of Muslims on our side. The current conflict at the most basic level is a conflict which will be fought and won in the Muslim world.” According to Daniel Pipes, it’s about finding alternative leaders and ideas, which can take up the fight with militant Islam. “We prevailed in the confrontations with fascism and communism, because we succeeded in marginalizing the enemy’s ideology, made it repulsive in the eyes of the majority. In 1991, the Soviet leadership didn’t believe in the system any longer. We’re also obligated to persuade the Islamicists that they’re wrong. We must find alternative leaders in the Islamic world, in the same way as Konrad Adenauer appeared in Germany and Boris Yeltsin in Russia. There are two steps: on one side we’ll defeat the ideology by means of military power, education, media and ideals, and on the other we’ll support anti-Islamicist Muslims, who want to preserve their believes, but don’t want to live under Islamic law. In the same way that we supported anti-communists and anti-Nazis in the Soviety Union and Germany. Finally, this is a struggle between two notions of the Muslims’ position in the world.
Not the nature of Islam
Daniel Pipes acknowledges that the current situation doesn’t exactly give reason for optimism, but he is nevertheless convinced that the Muslim world sooner or later will define itself positively in relation to the modern world. “The current situation isn’t due to the nature of Islam. Judaism is in principle also a statuatory religion like Islam, but in this case, it’s been successful in finding peaceful coexistence with the modern world. The current situation is the result of a historic development. If you and I had carried on this conversation in the 1930’s, I would have pointed at Germany’s and Japan’s problems with modernization, but that was transient. We possibly would also have noticed the Turkish leader Kemal Atatürks’ attempt to build an alternate, secular model for the Islamic world. For the moment, this idea is unfortunately not especially attractive in the Middle East. The Islamicists’ ideas seem more modern and attractive,” explains Daniel Pipes.
He then gives a crash-course in the history of the Islamic world. “The first 600 years of Islam’s history was that to be Muslim was as playing on a sport’s team. [Trans: This sentence puzzles me; can’t translate “vinderhold”.] There was an advanced society, which managed well materially and spiritually. It was a rich, powerful and healthy world. In the following 600 years, the Islamic world closed itself in and lost connections to what happened in other places, not least of which what happened in Europe. When the Muslims in the 19th Century discovered the West’s wealth and power, they asked themselves amazed and shocked, ‘What went wrong, and how do we fix it?’ The first 120-130 years, that is, to the 1930’s, they attempted to imitate the liberal West, first and foremost France and Great Britain. During the following 60 years, they endeavored the other way around to imitate the non-liberal West, that is, fascist and communist currents. Now they’re attempting for the third time to answer to the challenge from the West, and, this time, they’ve turned against the original, non-liberal Islam. It will again fail, and so they’ll try something else. I believe that the next attempt will come more to resemble the first imitation of the liberal West than the following two ,” rings out contained optimism from Pipes.
But despite this, he doesn’t believe that there is reason to lean back and wait for things to happen by themselves. Pipes is surprised that there isn’t greater alarm in Europe over the challenge that Islam represents thanks to falling rates of fertility and a weakened sense for its own history and culture. “It’s one of the greatest stories of our time. The response is amazingly relaxed in Europe. There’s great denial. It’s paradoxical, that the Muslims come from countries that stand weaker economically and politically, while those in rich and strong Europe show greater cultural ambition than the Europeans. It amazes me as an American. Europe has been history’s driving-force for the last 500 years, but now it looks to be going the other way. Here in the USA, the situation is far less dramatic.” According to Daniel Pipes, the Muslims don’t make up more than about 1 percent of the population, 3-4 million people, and their social status is different than in Europe. “There are groups which speak for Islam in the schools and intimidate politicians and Muslims who insist on their right to speak freely. Militant Islam has a comprehensive non-violent agenda. Muslims in the USA are composed of two groups, immigrants and Americans who have converted to Islam. Muslim immigrants have a higher social and economic status than in Europe. They’re doctors, engineers and others with a professional education who earn money.”
Daniel Pipes has come into conflict with large parts of the academic world. He is critical of much of the research which is conducted within Middle East-studies and believes that it has overlooked or ignored important currents, while in other areas it has been all too quick to attribute to fundamentalists a modernizing or democratizing sense. It has, he believes, often been political with an inclination to the Left. “The left wing is dissatisfied with the societies that have been formed in the West, while the conservative are pleased. The left wing’s dissatisfaction and feeling of guilt often means that they’re prepared to go much too far to meet the opposition. They seek understanding and compromise, while conservatives are more inclined to take up the confrontation. People in Middle East-studies haven’t had en eye for the hostile and violent elements in radical Islam. They ignored Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime, the pervasive anti-Semitism, slavery in Sudan, the cultural oppression of the Berbers in northern Africa, and they’ve attempted to give the impression that the word jihad means something completely different than military effort to develop Islam’s territory. Some plainly believe that jihad is about becoming a better person. As if the Palestinian’s Islamic Jihad uses the word to become better people.”
Facts: blue book
Daniel Pipes is 54 years old. Educated in history at Harvard University. Has held positions in the Department of State (?) and the Department of Defense.
Since 1994, he’s concentrated on his service in the think-tank “Middle East Forum” and the exceptionally popular Web-site http://www.danielpipes.org, which gets more than 2 million hits per year. Pipes has 20,000 subscriptions to a free newsletter on-line. He established Middle East Forum in his home with two friends, but lives today at an exclusive address in downtown Philadelphia, has 15 employees, and a budget of more than 1 million dolars. Pipes is the author of 12 books, the latest titled “Miniatures: Views of Islamic and Middle Eastern Politics.”
SO : This affair is being stirred up by two elements, neither of them Christian. Islamic Al Qaeda nuts and Likudnik “clash of civilization” zealots.
try a link next time
t. jasper parnell
Zifnab argues that “I suppose that depends on your definition of nation-building. Japan and Germany were coagulated entities by the time the US stepped in.”
What is a coagulated entity? It sounds like the grease on plate at Joe’s diner.
He goes on to assert that “Bismark had unified Germany some fifty years earlier.” Assuming that Otto von B did unify Germany, it occured in 1871. What this has to do with anything is a bit obscure. No competent historian would argue that the weak political unification that occured under Otto von B’s leadership amounted to the creation of a vibrant, functional democracy. The Bismark system denied to parliament the right to interfer with all but internal economic matters. Foreign affairs and other consequenstial issue remain in the purview of the Minister President whose authority grew out of the king’s confidence in him; there was not such thing as parlimentary responsibility.
He then argues that “The “nation building” aspect was rather trivial. . . . Germany in particular was hardly foreign to democracy.”
This is simply sloppy thinking and ignorance of German history. It is true that there were democratic institutions in German and, at least on a local level, Germany had a long tradition of democratic action. However, the Second Empire was in no meaningful sense a substantive democratic state. The Weimar Republic was, it is true, robustly democratic. Unfortunately for German history outside of the SPD, most political parties and agents either passively (like Stressemann) or actively (like the hard right and the far left) hated the Republic. They saw it as something imposed on Germany and utterly foreign to its traditions and culture or as a stalking horse for capitalist domination. As has been pointed out, by Ian Kershaw among others, a fully functional GErman democracy, understood as a broad based acceptance of the Basic Law and the Federal Republic, awaited the Wirtschaftswunder.
He then argues that “Iraq is another story. Here the US really did tackle nation-building in the most hard core sense as it tried to unify three distinct and often inter-hostile racial groups. What the US is attempting today would be more comparable to desegregating the South than reconstructing Germany.”
Here he introduces the fictive concept of race, which raises far more question than it answers: how are the various cultural/religious sub-groups in Iraq distinct races? What is a race? and so on. The camparison to the American South seems particularly inapt. If anything his assertion that both Japan and Germany suffered from some kind of a dictatorship hangover would tend to support the notion the most analogous situation for Iraq, which as I understand things suffered under Saddam’s dictatorship, would in fact be Germany, which well into the Weimar era was separated by diverse, divergent and often hostile cultural sub-groups (Protestants versus Catholics for example).
In short, the post is a nearly perfect compendium of historial ignorance and bizarre racialist thinking.
Other than that, well argued.
Anyone who gets upset about a cartoon is whacko in my book.
The Disenfranchised Voter
That is a pretty solid philosophy right there, DougJ.
But what about Bambi?
Maybe if one of you would give me a reason to believe Iraq was originally an exercise in “nation-building” as opposed to a war and subsequent reconstruction (and then reconcile Bush’s original statement with your definition — which I don’t think any of you can do), rather than just saying “I can’t believe you don’t think it is,” I’d give you a little credit. So far, you guys haven’t shown a lot in the way of reasoning.
You’re still trying to draw this distinction between “nation-building” and “a war and reconstruction”? Are you really going to keep this up even though EVERYONE acknowledges the reconstruction of Germany and Japan was a classic example of “nation-building”? Have you still not found ANYONE who disagrees with this?
They can’t because they all suffer from BDS. When President Bush said we were going to spread democracy he simply meant we were going to: invade a tyrannical country; depose the leadership; rebuild the infrastructure; create a new democratic government; and provide security and airplanes full of US dollars while all of this goes on.
In no way is any of that nation building.
I’m not a competent historian so I don’t have the facts to dispute this. But if it’s true, you aren’t providing any good examples of it. Whether or not it’s democratic – in this case, if the parliament has real power – is immaterial to whether or not it’s unified. And to the extent you talked about it at all, you seemed to agree that they
In terms of genetic science the differences between races are trivial, so you might say there’s no such thing. But if race is a social construct, it can be important in social or political contexts. And it’s obvious to everyone that race – tribe, clan, religious sect, whatever divisions of identity politics (normally I hate that term, but it’s appropriate here) you choose to focus on – is important in the current problems in Iraq. Kurds vs. Shi’a vs. Sunni vs. foreign terrorists is the entire conflict there. So if you’re picking at the use of the word “race”, choose a similar terms from my list above.
I notice you don’t dispute anything he had to say about Japan. Was he right about that, then?
The term “nation building” is an example of framing so successful that people don’t even think about it. Building a nation, in the pre-government or non-government sense, is difficult to do in less than a generation, and impossible for a government to do outside its own borders. If membership in Pedants International was required to pontificate, we’d all call it “government building”. I imagine that term never became popular because “government is the problem” to the right and it sounds like imperialism to the left, but it’s more accurate. But PI’s annual dues are too complicated and they kick you out for stuff like using “they” when you really mean “he or she”, so never mind.
So have we been building government in Iraq, I wonder? Hmmm…
Note for the obtuse that I didn’t say, nor did anyone else, that nation building was the original reason for going over there. But Bush’s administration started using it as an excuse after it became obvious to most that there was, in fact, no threat, so it’s fair to call him and his defenders inconsistent for that.
Sorry Mac, I’m not going to do your homework for you–especially seeing as how you baldly ignore reality when it disagrees with you. Attempting to inform your blind, disingenuous ass is a waste of time.
However, since you linked to a definition of nation-building over at Wikipedia, you could ponder what it says a bit more. It mentions Iraq, it mentions Bush, and it even links to a certain RAND study! :)
t. jasper parnell
I know little to nothing about Japan and thus said nothing, someone or another with a longish German name once said something like of that which we cannot speak we must remain silent.
I do not dispute that what is going on in Iraq is nation building, nor can I understand how anyone can deny that this is the case. We could, it seems to me, even extend the notion and call it nation-state building. Personally, based soley, as a great American once said, on what I read in the papers, I an convinced that at least in part the intervention in Iraq was, in fact, based on the desire by members of the current administration to substantively transform Iraq’s political culture and political institutions.
The bone that I pick has to do with the use of a historically inaccurate depiciton of German political, social, and economic history. I do not believe that this is “mere” pendantry. If we are going to seek in the past a guide to our present and future behavior, it behooves us to get the facts of things past right, or at least as right as they can be gotten.
In terms of “evidence” and my failure to point to any, the period of the Second Empire is discussed in the work of Wolfgang Mommsen, Wehler, Stuermer, Schieder, Lambi, Boehme, usw. Mommsen, who among German scholars argues that the Second Empire was more robustly democratic, characterizes it “a semi-constitutional system with supplementary party-political features, which was incapable of undergoing evolutionary change . . .” (_Imperial Germany, 1867-1918: Politics, Culture and Society in an Authoritarian State_, (London: Arnold, 1995),5) In other words, it was not so democratic and because of its institutionalization of “skirted decision” making on key issues of national integration, on all manner of levels, it was unable or incapable of becoming one (Mommsen discusses the concept of “skirted decision” in chapter one).
In terms of its “integration,” Gordon Craig provides an clear discussion of the lack of political, social, and economic unification, as well a nice overview of the consititution, in his _Germany: 1866-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), 48-40, but see the whole of chapter II).
As to race, I simply cannot understand what you are saying. The use of the term, in my experience, is nearly always the result of not thinking things through. It would seem to be without scientific basis and when used in its older sense meant something like nationality. In this particular case, however, the discrimination, hatred and so on between the multifarious religio-social groups in Iraq, in so far as I understand, has to do with matters of “nationality,” i.e., Kurds, or religious difference, Shia verus Sunni. Over, or under, which lays a patena of economic and political desires and greviences. The American case, that is the historical oppression of Americans of African descent, was based on phenotypical difference, a difference that persists even as matters of ideology, i.e., religion, dissappear. Here a popular misconception that skin colour served as a marker for “racial” difference would seem to have made integration much more difficult. I say this, however, tenatively, as I am not particularly expert in this area of history.
That’s THEODORE Mommsen.
t. jasper parnell
You shout yet you are wrong. There is more than one Mommsen. Theodore is the father and great historian of the classical world, although with an unfortunate association with the Nazis. Wolfgang is the son and great historian of the 19th century. Hans is also a son a great historian of the Weimar era, among other things. You see it is this kind of basic ignorance to which I object. People make claims based on some vaguely remember something or another. When I wrote the above, as should be obvious from the quote which included the page number, I had Wolfgang’s text in front of me. As I now have one from Hans and one from Theodore. If you are going to shout, get your god-damned facts straight. It really is not that hard.
t. jasper parnell
Sorry, I am in error about Theodore and the Nazis, appologies to all and sundry.
t. jasper parnell
I am also most likely in error about the familial relationship, working from some vaguely remembered something or another, must learn to follow my own advice.
t. jasper parnell
I realize that this doesn’t matter and so on but: All the Momsen’s (Theodore, Wilhelm, Hans, and Wolfgang) are related all were historians of some note. It was Wilhelm who was the Nazi. Theodore died in 1903. Again, sorry for the error, accuracy in small things and large.
t. jasper parnell
Is then an example of a self-correcting blogospheric moment?
Well I think one could argue that in America, we have more of a tolerance for ALL kinds of viewpoints. Fundamentalist religious groups and atheist groups alike have the right to organize politcally and express themselves, as long as they follow the rules of the democractic game. As for religious authority, I’m not sure we have much, other than the influence that religious groups can get by politically acting. We have less of a ‘problem’ with this because we realize that Democracy is a game, and if religious people can fairly convince enough people to play on their team, than they can win too.
Definitely we seem to be more open to religion than they seem to be in Europe, and don’t begrudge people to believe what they want, even though Euros proclaim they are the ones who are more open-minded and liberated. Especially in continental northern Europe, where being “religious” is practically a dirty word for them. I know this because I have German cousins who are very tactless about religion, in front of members of my family who are religious, but I forgive them for such because probably that is how they grew up.
Group think just seems to be big in Europe. You have to eat certain ways, the same foods, dress the same way, always use your knife to cut your sandwich, god forbid you use your hands, love nature like a pagan, or otherwise that is unthinkable. Maybe I can understand how some Muslims feel. Unfortunately, although the US is getting all the blame, it seems to me the larger problem with Muslims is being bred in Europe, and we are the ones getting the end result of this through events such as 9/11. It is a bad combination, Muslims who don’t fit in, and Euro’s who want everyone to think one way. Who knows how it will end up.
I think the issue here is that no one is laughing hard enough.
When Muslim fruitcakes insist “No cartooning or we cut off head!” the proper response is laughter and badger-poking, not hand-wringing and apology.
Who knows how it will end up, indeed…I dunno. But I do think lots of heavy-duty laughing at the rude, spoiled children that are the Muslim extremists will certainly help…if only so they get mad enough that we have to spank their little bottoms with European fighter-bombers.
Keep laughing at them. It’s cheaper. And way more fun for everybody–including them!