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04 May 2011

Comments

Russ Steele

The world is a better place with bin Laden feeding the fish at the bottom of the Persian Gulf, however it is important to recognize Al Qaeda just received new life from the martyrdom of the one man whose face has come to symbolize unwavering resistance to the Infidel. The killing of bin Laden promises to be a much greater incentive than anything that Bush did to encourage the recruitment radical Muslim terriorsts. It is critical to remember, this was not the end of the war on terror, but just the end of the first phase, the killing of Osama. Phase two will be the radical Muslim retaliation, and phase three will be eradication of those responsible, which will more than a single indivudual.

Todd Juvinall

When they killers come for the "progressives" the "progressives " will be sure to try and make the killers know they are not dying because of racism.

Mike Thornton

Well, George, I'd like to take this opportunity to commend you for refraining from using the term "Raghead" and instead using a more accurate one, "radical" Islam. I think you've set the stage for the possibility of having an intelligent discussion on the subject.
Hopefully some of your other readers will begin to follow your lead!

RL Crabb

Some years ago, I had a conversation with Mike Thornton about his trip to the middle east. I always like to get info from people who actually have some experience with Muslims, since I don't.

As I recall, Mike described a place that was quite diverse, like anywhere on this planet. It could hardly be said that everyone held the same opinion, although some of it sounded pretty scary. In some cases you could be killed for asking the wrong person the wrong question.

Let's hope that the 'Arab Spring' revolutions will produce an electorate that is more interested in catching up with the rest of the world rather than carrying on thousand-year-old grudges.

Todd Juvinall

The radical Muslims still watch "Crusader Rabbit" cartoons. We have moved on to X-Men.

Mike Thornton

Todd: What does a comment like that add to actually trying to deal with the situation?

As far as the Middle East is concerned, you're right Bob! (At least that was my experience)
I met all kinds of people with different views.
I walked into a hotel in Damascus on the morning that Saddam Hussein's trial started and I sat watching the proceedings with two Syrian bellhops. Another guy asked me why we (the US) didn't just hang him and get it over with, because everyone in the region knew that was what was going to happen and that the guy had it coming.
While there is definitely a different relationship to religion in the Middle East than there is in the "West", I think it's reasonable to say that many Muslims approach their religion the same way that many Christians do. They are born into families that have a certain "religion: and they are raised with that framework, but are really much more concerned with the tasks of daily life that we all face. They have hopes and dreams for themselves, their families, their children and their communities. Most people in the US know very little about the rest of the world and so they fear a lot of it. Some of it should be feared, but most of it not!
I traveled in Syria, Israel, the West Bank and Lebanon and the only time I was actually "afraid' was in the Shattila, Palestinian Refugee camp in Beirut and that was because the place was the worst ghetto I have ever been in by one hundred fold (and I've lived in some pretty tough places) full of 6 generations of angry frustrated people.
It was a scary place.
I've got hours worth of stories about this stuff!

Todd Juvinall

Metaphorical humor.

Regarding the "Muslims" and there aspirations. And I do find you placing the word west in para's kind of inrteresting.

Traveling to foreign countries as a tourist is something many of us have done. I have hours of stories myself. I simply say the difference between a religion that says anyone who isn't a believer in Allah will be sent off the planet. Read Jefferson's War and you will see the man had the same problem with these folks as the world has today. Christianity is a religion of peace, the Koran is a book of violence.

Dixon Cruickshank

The mideast has for hundreds of years been a very violent and tribal arena - they won't forget because Jimmy Carter stops in for a chat.

Wonder if 15 families did move to Nevada City and next thing you know they are all on the sidewalk in front of all the wine shops protesting - anybody locals want to try that on.

They come to change and colonise, not to assimilate

Steve Enos

"Christianity is a religion of peace"?... seems some one does not know his history.

George Rebane

Mr Thornton - I look forward to more of your insights and experiences garnered from your travels in the Muslim world.

Among my friends I also count Muslims and a Sikh. A major concern about the non-militant, mildly Muslim around the world is how they will react to a militant Islamic majority gaining power where they live. Will they just fall in and become enthusiastic supporters of the new regime that gives them purpose and direction, or ...?

In recent history the reaction of the Christian Germans to Nazism is worth pondering. None of them were indoctrinated in national socialism, let alone being rabid ideologues of that movement. They were a very civilized and serious people going about their business and rebuilding their country from the deprivations of WW1 and its blockaded aftermath. No one thought much of Hitler and his brown shirts.

However, after Hitler became Chancellor and the Nazis assumed power, they would be almost instantly turned into supporters of the new ideology and regime in their daily lives and workplaces. And this support redoubled with patriotic fervor once the country went to war. For almost all Germans it truly was then 'Deutschland über Alles!'

How would the Muslim street react in similar situations? What effect on such possible reaction will the current 'Arab Spring' have?

Mike Thornton

I was hardly a "tourist", Todd.
Have you read the Christian Bible lately? It clearly says that if you don't believe in Allah (since it is all the same God)that the violence you'll experience will come from the hand of Allah (himself)and will be more than a human being can even imagine.
Christians have slaughtered and enslaved hundreds of millions of people in the name of the God of "Abraham", so it's just a little more complicated then you present it as.
As far as Muslims coming to "change and colonize" I've been to SALAM Mosque in Sacramento on several occasions and have never once seen Muslims protesting anything in the area. I challenge you to present verifiable evidence that there have been any of the type of protest as described by Mr. Cruickshank in the Sacramento area!

George Rebane

According to Christ's teachings, Christianity IS a religion of peace. God's wrath on Man in the Bible is not to be confused with God compelling man-on-man violence.

All of this is independent (semantically orthogonal) to how Christians have behaved. As I have noted in these pages, historically Christians have been the world's most prodigious killers. The exception to that came in the 20th century when collectivist totalitarian dictators, who were also atheists, killed their own citizens in unimaginable numbers. Christians now seem to be a confused lot - people ignorant of their religion, cultural history, and seeking a direction that does not draw much attention to itself.

And to keep things on track - DixonC did not claim that such protets have occurred. He implied that such protests have occurred in other places (Great Britain and Germany come to mind) where Muslims have clearly declared that they are settlers in a new land, and not assimilating immigrants.

Mike Thornton

I think you raise important questions, George!
I'm actually reading a very interesting book entitled "Red Orchestra" about the rise of Nazism and the various resistance efforts that were taking place.
In general, I think there is a tremendous amount of rage and shame in the Arab world. There is also a lot of learned helplessness, which has been greatly aided by colonization and the support of brutal authoritarian regimes by the Western Powers. This has left millions of people vulnerable to the Bin Ladens of the world, who promise a resurgence of pride through a return to past glory days (as was much the case with Hitler)
My experience working in the mental health field has taught me that you don't get "Shame Based" people to behave differently/better by continuing to shame them and trying to beat them into submission, but by giving them a viable alternative instead.
As Crabb pointed out earlier, the so-called "Arab Spring" can be a real opportunity for the West to do something positive now.
It's a complicated situation and needs to be approached with intelligence, nuance and real strength. Not simplistic bluster and brute force.

Todd Juvinall

I have a slew of things I could say about Jamaica, Mexico and some other places regarding there governments, religions and ways of life, but I won't. A tourist's view is skewed because they are simply that, a tourist.

Yes historical Christianity was a deadly and brutal religion, mostly in the hands of the Catholics and the Pope. It is my view that since the late 1900's the rise of evangelical Christians has utilized the New Testament as its guide. This reflects the current view of Christianity as a religion of peace. I am quite fascinated though with atheists and agnostics who always tell us what we are when they don't have a clue. It does provide us a good laugh.

Mike Thornton

So what we're saying here is that there has been great violence done in the name of "God" and by people who don't believe in "God" for all of "Man's" history and more often then not the actual reasons for all of this death and enslavement had little to do with "Religion" other than it was what was used as the justification/rationalization, correct?
truthfully it would be a relief if modern Christians in America actually used the "New Testament" as their guide as Todd states! Unfortunately, there seems to be a tendency on the part of the most vocal "Christians" to profess their faith in Jesus as they quote the Old Testament" for justification/rationalization of a bunch of hate and bigotry.
George, I beg to differ regarding the Cruikshank comment, what was being done was more fear mongering. "Oh what will happen if....", but it isn't happening and in an area right near Nevada City where there are thousands of Muslims and several Masjids it hasn't happened there either!

RL Crabb

So what is your answer, Todd? Kill 'em all and let God sort them out? Seems like you don't want to even make an effort at anything else.

I have a lot of gripes with Islam. My profession has suffered a great deal because of the radicals. But I still refuse to see the Muslims as one entity, all evil.

Mike Thornton

I know this is (only slightly) off topic, but I'm listening to tape from several right wing talk radio hosts who are claiming that (a) The Navy Seals (possibly) didn't actually kill Osama and that his own bodyguards did (b) That Obama is a "war criminal" for killing Osama in Pakistan and (c) Glenn beck is complaining that poor Osama was killed even though he was "unarmed"!
This is "ODS" (Obama Derangement Syndrome)absolutely run amok!
The right wing hates Obama so much, that they are willing to take the side of Osama Bin Laden over our own President.
I'd sure like to hear what the Republican and Tea Party leadership has to say about this!

Mike Thornton

You've got the right approach, Bob!
We need to isolate the "radicals" from Islam as a whole.
If the radicals continue to attack and kill, then we and others need to do whatever it takes to stop them from doing so.
On the other hand we can't keep killing innocent Muslims and expect them not to react.
We also can't keep poking Islam in the eye, by burning the Quran, calling them "Ragheads" (regardless of the rationalization) and I would argue that there is a line (albeit fine) between legitimate political cartooning and images that are simply designed to inflame and provoke violent reaction.
We have to stand up for our values and principles, but we also have to be smart and appropriately sensitive to the situation.

RL Crabb

Yes, but I would like to know where that fine line is. Is the act of portraying the prophet a killing offense? This is where the so-called mainstream Muslims lose me.

I've cited the example of the young female cartoonist from Seattle who advocated "Let's All Draw Mohammad Day" here and in my cartoon before. She was forced to go underground for some time because of threats on her life. (Her rationale being that they couldn't kill ALL the cartoonists, right?)

Even Salman Rushdie, in today's 'Daily Beast' says that maybe it's time we quit pussyfooting around with Pakistan and treat them like a terrorist nation. It was Rushdie who once said, "Freedom of expression...without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist."

So I'm willing to Islam a little slack, but I will never bow to censorship for the sake of political correctness.

Todd Juvinall

Well golly gee, what is the answer? Hmmm. I agree the Islamo-fascists terrorist should be isolated and taken out, but golly gee, how does that happen? The Muslim street protects them. Look at Britain and Germany, the bad guys are protected and the authorities have a hard time penetrating the communities. So, maybe we could pay them off., Like the Mafia but in reverse. We could give them a stipend like say $25 bucks a month to not kill us. If you want to draw a cartoon of Mohamed, I will be the first to speak of your heroism at your funeral. They will Van Gogh you and you know it. The best solution we thought would work was education. Doctors, lawyers, yada yada yada. Well They seem to be willing to jihad us too (Isn't Zawahiri a doc?). Even the protected murderer of our troops at Ft. Hood was educated and lived here for many years. Islam-fascism trumped everything in him. So keep up your Pollyanna but if you don't show strength and power, these folks will be your masters someday.

Dixon Cruickshank

Lots of different facets to Islam Mr Thornton just like christianity. It only takes a small group that believes in shara law and practices a strict belief, of course that is not all of them. There are many neighborhoods in Briton and France that christians are not welcome in, let alone if your jewish. In Britan recently, which is what popped into my mind, a clothing store was forced to move because of relentless protests out front. It also hurt the other business'es nearby, this went on for years, so it was only kinda hypothetical.

George Rebane

"Freedom of expression...without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist." Deep thought and oh so true. Thanks for sharing Bob.

MikeT (I feel like I'm finally beginning to know you), the connections you make from DixonC's comment, and inferring that the right is "taking the side of Osama bin Laden" are for me too difficult to follow.

And you still accuse me of calling ALL of Islam ragheads, when I have only used that appellation for designating the fanatical murderers of innocents - both infidels and Muslims - clearly a small but effective contingent of Islam. I have the strong feeling that you can differentiate that use, but don't know exactly why you are returning to the blanket assertion.

Todd Juvinall

George, Muslims call everyone else on the planet who are not them, infidels. Would that be a racist comment? Just wondering.

George Rebane

Racism is now a meaningless (in the sense that no coherent definition of it exists) pejorative hung by the left on anyone they don't like for any reason. Sort of like some rightwingers calling everyone to their left communists.
http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2010/07/who-is-a-racist.html

Yes indeed, Islam does divide the world into Muslims and infidels ("those without faith").

Todd Juvinall

I was just curious since I never read these socalled "outraged" liberals condemning them for what I would call racism from the Muslims.

Mike Thornton

George, I'm using your use of "Raghead" as an example, not as an "accusation". My point is that we need to understand what we're doing and why.
You can split all the hairs you want, but what the Arab world sees and hears is "Raghead", if you think that helps find a way toward some sort of peaceful resolution to the problem, more power to you.
Bob, As you (likely) know, Islam prohibits visual depictions of the Prophet under any and all circumstances. I'm not saying that people who are not Muslim should in any way be bound by that or that Islam should be exempt from criticism or political analysis regardless of the medium. but ask yourself this question: What is the point of "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day"? Is it to use art as a way of exploring Islam or pointing out some social/political contradiction or hypocrisy or is it: "We know this is really going to piss you off and we're going to do it because we can."? Is refraining from doing something like that bowing to "PC" or is it "Man, things are really bad and maybe we should try to build a few bridges with these folks, before we start poking them in the eye again."?
Dixon, if you want to say that there are some areas of the world, where new cultures are moving in and kicking the existing cultures out, what's new about that? Should people be able to stand up for their neighborhoods and say "No, we live here too!"?, Of course they should be able too! But do you ever consider the fact that European Christianity has done, exactly the same thing all over the world? Yes, the difference is that, up til now, we've pretty much "kicked ass" on the entire world and there has been nothing they could do to stop it. When they tried, they were killed!
If you really want to worry, about a cultural paradigm shift, look to China.
But since our country is being run by and for the capitalist investor class at the moment, pretty much all they see are dollar signs and the belief they'll be able to overcome Chinese Nationalism, with Tommy Hilfiger stores and Brittney Spears CDs.
I just don't know why, the idea of approaching things with something other than a sledgehammer, while waving the flag and taking marching orders from Rush Limbaugh seems to be such a difficult concept for so many folks on the right to get?
And why, not only do so many of you not seem to get it, but you just can't seem to cope with anybody who can.

George Rebane

MikeT - good point on raghead and reaching a "peaceful resolution". My intent was not that its use would serve that purpose, but display and motivate in us an animus to resist the self-proclaimed Islamic onslaught.

All evidence that I have shows that militant Islam has a pretty brutal agenda with regard to the west - sort of like the Christian Great Commission on steroids. And by their own words they show nothing but contempt when we respond to them with rapprochement, they see it as a confirming weakness. This is not unusual for a culture that is about 600 years 'behind' the west and advanced Asian civilizations. Would welcome thoughts and references that contend this view.

'Everybody draw Muhammad Day' appears to have been another version of 'raghead' to indicate the in-your-face strength of the west. Its wisdom, as of 'raghead', is up for debate.

Finally, to me your connecting the two independent notions of standing up to Islam and the West's history of colonization belong under the 'Sunk Costs Don't Count' argument that I recently posted.

RL Crabb

I've never done a drawing of Big Mo just for the sake of drawing him, but keep in mind that the seattle cartoonist was targeted for just suggesting it. Also, if Muslims want to live in a free country, then they are expected to deal with criticism just like everyone else. What they do in their own countries is their problem. (I'm sure you've seen the videos of women being stoned to death.) The idea of coming here is to escape the kind of persecution they get at home.

The Muslim community needs to look in the mirror and decide whether they want to live in the 21st Century or the 12th. I'm hoping that the 'Arab Spring' is a step in that direction.

Mike Thornton

Once again, George, I believe there is a big difference and a bigger gap between "militant" and "mainstream" Islam than most people in "The West" realize.
I met with a "progressive" Muslim scholar in Damascus Mohammad Habasch, who told me that the vast majority of Muslims are what he called "conservative" and that generally, they don't care one way or another about non-Muslims, since they believe that we're all going to Hell anyway. They don't want to hang out with us, but they don't want to fight with us either.
The most militant Muslims are the "Wahhabi" and they are most prevalent in Saudi Arabia. They are largely the ones who believe that non-Muslims should be killed, but at the same time believe that the Muslims that don't believe as they do are for all intents and purposes "Non-Muslims" as well. I find it interesting that for all of the Muslim countries we do attack for their alleged threat to "Western Civilization", we leave "The Kingdom" untouched....
To me the real question is: "Do we want to find a way to peacefully coexist with the Muslim World or to we want to defeat them and impose Western capitalism upon them"?
Depending on what the answer to that question is, the strategy and tactics are worlds apart.
And I wonder what you mean by "standing up to Islam"? It sounds like you believe that we ARE at war with a religion that has over 2 Billion adherents. If that's true, why is that?
I think you're misunderstanding my point about the West's history of colonization.
Everything happens in a context and in much of the rest of the world, not just the Middle East, the history of that colonization and the brutality that went with it, is hardly "old news", those wounds are pretty raw. And while we may want to forget about our past murderous excesses, most people in the world haven't and that includes many in the Native American and African American communities within our own borders.

Mike Thornton

I think we're talking past each other Bob.
I'm not saying that people should be forced to abide by Islam's rules on anything.
I'm simply saying that, you can go back 1000+ years and see example after example of attacks on the religion of Islam and the people who believe in it. I've seen some of the Crusader Forts, with my own eyes and read the treatises attacking "Mahound" that were sanctioned by the European Christian Church.
Here's what I know. I think you're a pretty good and reasonable guy, but if I found out what was the most sacred thing you believed in and I kept attacking it and you, over and over and over, sooner or later you'd get pretty pissed off about it, right?
Now in all likelihood, you'd just say "To hell with this guy, I won't have anything to do with him anymore!", But what if I kept it up and kept it up and then camped out in your front yard and drawing offensive cartoons on your house, throwing rocks at your kids and then set your house on fire and killed a couple of your relatives?
My guess is, that the shotgun would have already come out.
Would I then be justified in saying "That Bob, he just needs to stop being so friggin sensitive!"
Now, if things had gotten that bad and i wanted to try and clean things up with you, would looking for another way to insult you be the best way to achieve that?

RL Crabb

Every one of us come from a history of oppression, whether we know it or not. Some of our ancestors came to this country for economic opportunity, but I'd wager that most came here to escape tyranny in their mother countries. Even though there is a history of racism and intolerance here, most of us have gotten over it.

You could look at India as an example, also. The British were ruthless overlords, but today India is climbing out of the cycle of hate and becoming a modern nation. And while I agree that Israel has been brutal and unjust in their treatment of the Palestinians, can you imagine how much different things would be today if the Arab population had followed the teachings of Gandhi instead of violence?

They need to get over the past, if they want to have a future.

Mike Thornton

Agreed.
And we have to do what we can to help them.
I'm simply arguing that a lot of what we've been doing, not only doesn't help, but actually makes things worse.
I also think there are (some) folks who know that and profit from the situation and that would include many in the Arab world as well!

Todd Juvinall

You two should sit down and watch Lawrence of Arabia. Great music.

Mike Thornton

I have the DVD sitting on my living room table at this very moment.

Larry Wirth

Mike T, have you actually read the Koran? If you have, please inform us of the "takeaway" message. If you haven't yet had that pleasure, please do so now (choose an Arab translation) and report back here on what you've learned.

Your historical ignorance of the Islamic world is stunning, if not breathtaking. For the record, there seem to be about 1.5 billion Muslims on the planet at present, not "more than two billion." You can look it up, y'know?

In re: colonialism, the Muslims of the Hijaz were the world's original colonialists, pouring out of Arabia on Muhammed's command in the 7th Century and overrunning much of classical Christiandom until stopped in France in 722. That was the only "golden age" of Islam. The crusades of three hundred years later were an attempt to keep Islam from overwhelming the Byzantine Empire that had been under Islamic assault since the Muslim founding. It was only partially successful and no part of the Islamic world
was "colonized" as a result.

The second great colonial power was that of the Ottoman Turks who regained most, but not all of the original Islamic emipire, by "colonizing" the original colonialists.

As that ordered crumbled, only in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, particularly following WWII, then and only then, was any part of the Muslim heartland "colonized," and in most cases was comparatively brief. The exception was India, where the British ousted the Muslim tyranny beginning in the late 17th Century.

France tried the "settler" bit in Algeria, starting in 1830, but to suggest that the Muslims have been "scarred" by "Western colonialism" betrays a near-complete lack of education in the subject you are attempting to address. If you'd like a bibliograpy to enhance your understanding, just say so, but in the meantime, start by reading the Koran.

Mike Thornton

I actually have a copy of the Quran in Arabic, English and Tranliterated Arabic.
First Muhammad fought with his fellow Arabs and and then moved out to indeed conquer neighboring empires and then begin to expand the Ummah as you so state. Making there way to Southern Spain. I've never said that they were "pacifists"! The fact is however that European Christians invaded the "Holy" Land in an effort to conquer it (or if it makes you feel better to re-conquer it) That still doesn't change the facts regarding the European invasions and colonization of the Arab world, which continued (after the Ottomans) into the 20th and 21st Centuries as well as the support of brutal Arab dictators and continued invasions to this very moment. So it seems that what you want to have is a history, where only the Muslims are the "bad guys"
As far as the take away message of the Quran it's the same as The Bible, believe what we believe or burn in Hell for eternity.
I reject the message in both books!

Todd Juvinall

Excellent Wirth!

Larry Wirth

Mike T, if you have read your Korans, you will know that the take away message is quite different from that of the Bible. True believers of both faiths do indeed think that "infidels" (for that is also what the Crusaders called their opponents) will burn in Hell. The difference is that the Koran actively and repetitiously incites its followers to accelerate the process by killing them. Christians and Jews are given a third choice of dhimmitude (second class citizenship or even slavery), but for all others, the command is "our way or the grave."

And both history and current events testify that Muslims take those Koranic commands seriously. From the death of "the prophet" until the end of the tenth Century, Islam waged non-stop agressive war against the Christian and Hindu worlds although it was less successful in the East. The crusades came at a time when the original caliphate was in a state of advanced decay, but Islam recovered the Holy Land in less than a Century. When first the Seljuks and later the Ottomans wrested political power in the Islamic world from the Arabs, the perpetual state of war against Christiandom was resumed right down to the
1678 siege of Vienna.

The Ottomans were slowly forced onto the defensive as the Christian peoples of SE Europe reclaimed their independence in the 19th Century, but the period after 1678 did not see any colonization of the Muslim world until the Frence moved into Algeria.

While the Turks were a particular target of the Russians, the Ottoman Empire survived until 1923 when it was dismembered following a catastrophic defeat in World War I. The Arab portions were not colonized, they were given in trust to Britain and France to be administered until sufficient infrastructure could be put into place. That process was essentially complete by the eve of World War II, less than twenty years. So please don't mislead people by suggesting that Trans-Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine were "colonies" in the usual sense of the word.

And now, after a weakness-induced 3 Centuries of being on the defensive, the Muslim world has resumed the offensive. This isn't a reflection of mere orneriness, it is scripturally enjoined, as you know.

Todd Juvinall

Lets not forget the countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh were part of India either. Look at them today. Kashmir, and other areas of disagreement, all driven by religion.

Today's Union has a news story about how the people of India let their baby girls die for mostly economic reasons (dowry;s). The part that interests me about this is the liberals flock to the "peaceful" religion of Hindus.

Dixon Cruickshank

Great stuff Wirth - I worked in an office with a Greek that his family went through the Ottoman era having their land and village taken and given to the muslums of Albainia, I believe they killed his grandfather as he was head of the village. They don't forget, the Serbs didn't either, after the fall of the SU - this guy, his father and cousins went back across the border and literially threw the Albainian mayor out of their old family house at 6am - great story.

The way he explains it, whom ever has the power goes back and kicks the chit out of the last guys that did it. Yes it does go back to the 12th century

George Rebane

Good history lesson LarryW. If I may just shorten it for the disinterested reader; the Muslims began their invasion of Europe at Cordoba (now Spain)in 711 and stayed in the Iberian Peninsula until 1492. Invading through the Balkans they finally reached Vienna and were defeated there in 1683 (with the help of the Poles), but were only pushed back to the Balkans where they remain to this day. The Crusades were a temporary interlude.

The Muslim vs Christians conflicts are very one-sided with the Muslims being the perpetrators of conquest, and its most successful benefactors to this day. Anything else is historical revisionism with an agenda.

Todd Juvinall

I just love historical facts.

Paul Emery

Since we are on a history track let's spend some time looking at the Middle East since WWII Let's start with Iran. Mohammad Mosaddegh was the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953 when he was overthrown in a coup orchestrated by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. This is undisputed modern history. The reason for the coup was to support British Petroleum in their trade dispute the sovereign nation of Iran. He was replaced by the US sponsored dictator the Shah of Iran. At this point I will not get into details about the brutality of his police state. He ruled with an iron hand till deposed by the Ayatollah Khomeini that leads us to our current situation.

Imagine the feelings if in our country Harry Truman would have been ousted by a Iranian led coup in 1953 and replaced by a Iranian controlled dictator. This is modern history and is still alive today in the everyday lives stories of the people of Iran. This is only one example of why the West is feared and hated in that region. We have to take some responsibility for the situation in the Middle East if we hope to have any understanding of current events. Religion had nothing to do with this situation.

George Rebane

Well stated Paul, and I won't argue with your development exceept only to inject that at the time the US and USSR were in contention for that oil-rich country. Today we know that Brezhnev would probably have done something similar had we not (Exhibit A: Afghanistan). And no one has claimed that religion was a factor. But be that as it may.

But the discussion here is the undeniable contention between the west and Islam. This is not an invention of my fevered brain, but acknowledged by almost everyone in the world except America's lamestream.

You presented a vignette about Iran. Could you tie this to the larger issue please?

Paul Emery

That's a reasonable question so I'll do the best I can. I composed a detailed response but it disappeared due to a miss click si it's gone forever. As I recall it was quite brilliant but we'll never know. Here is a simplified version.

Religious fever and extremism becomes focused on us (and I mean all outside intruders including the State of Israel because we're there. We're there because we have to be to maintain our material needs and Empire. If we weren't there there would not have been 9/11. Why are we there? Because of our national interests not because we like the weather. These are sovereign nations and cultures. We are outsiders. I suggest you read "God's Terrorists" by Charles Allen to understand the motivations and roots of modern Jihad.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/gods-terrorists-by-charles-allen-468226.html

George Rebane

Paul, it seems that you're saying that losing Vienna in 1683 changed the aims and goals of Islam forever. From that day onward Islam became content to remain within its borders, and it was the rapacity of the west that reawakened its desire for following the Quran's dictates to make the world Islamic and establish the Caliphate (in their own words). Ergo we are at fault for 9/11, its preambles and aftermath.

I can't make that connection, but even if I could, I would still oppose their onslaught and defend western culture.

Dixon Cruickshank

Paul sorry thats way too 20th century - this all goes back hundreds of years, just listen to the muslums they are way back there.

Dixon Cruickshank

These were the angry scenes across Pakistan today as Muslims staged protests against the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.
Hundreds of people marched through Multan, burning U.S. flags and waving placards as they warned the terrorist's death could produce many more radical figures to take his place.
It comes after crowds of weeping mourners were pictured offering funeral prayers for the Al Qaeda mastermind widely blamed for thousands of deaths at 9/11.


I guess we just don't understand how senitive they are, I guess send them a couple billion and have all of us take a senitivity class and it will all work out for us.
The least we could do is offer the groups free plane tickets to Grass Valley, and have Todd build them some free houses, and have Mali get a goat farm up and running - the weather is probably much nicer, they would love it.

Paul Emery

George, Dixon

You're opening a huge issue here about the role of religion in nationalistic expansion by framing this discussion back to the 17th Century. Is it fair game to bring into the discussion the role of the Catholic Church in the conquest and slavery of the Native populations in South America for the benefit of their nationalistic sponsors? People have been hacking each other up for thousands of years in the name of religions of all kind so I don't see your point of diverting the discussion by attributing something uniquely violent to the religion of Islam. It was the Holy Roman Empire that conquered and destroyed the Celtic people of Europe and the British Isles for example. It was the determination that the Island of Ireland needed to be conquered and possessed by Britain as an outpost of the Holy Roman Empire because of a ruling from the Pope in Rome that the Ireland needed to be under their divine protection. That led to 800 years of British rule and the slaughter of thousands of native Irish. This is just an example of Christian expansion through military conquest. They had god on their side. Need I go on and on.

Do we have any responsibility today for our national policy that led to the coup in Iran for example. That only happened 50 years ago. That coup led to the deaths of thousands through the firing squads of the Shah of Iran, our guy.

This does not justify 9/11 but might shed some light on the root causes of militant Islam.

wmartin

" It was the Holy Roman Empire that conquered and destroyed the Celtic people of Europe and the British Isles for example."

LOL. Say what?

Paul Emery


From the BBC


Henry's motives for this first English conquest of Ireland are probably twofold: to distract from the recent murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury; and because the English pope, Hadrian IV, had conferred on him the title 'lord of Ireland' with the intention that Henry should take control of the island.

Todd Juvinall

Thank GOD the Vikings were stopped in 1000 by the English. We would all be worshiping Thor if they had been successful after 300 years of conquests amd invasions. Also, Russia is named for the RUS, a Viking tribe that actually got as far down as the Black Sea in trading with the natives. They established Kiev and later Moscow as trading centers. Then later the Mongols (Tatars) wiped them out and ruled Russia for many years. We all might have a different look if the later people's of Russia didn't rise up and boot them out. I love history. The Mongols would offer a town survival if they surrendered but if the town fought them they would murder every male and enslave the rest. They practised an Eastern religion.

Larry Wirth

For the record, as was said even at the time, The Holy Roman Empire was neither "Holy," nor "Roman," nor an "Empire." It barely held together after its founding by Charlemagne and today's France rapidly evolved from the Western portion.

England was never associated with it in any way and the conquest of England was by the Normans (Norsemen) who had settled in Normandy.

And, of course, while the Celts were conquered in Wales, Scotland and later in Ireland, they were hardly "destroyed." In any case, religion had little or nothing to do with it.

The larger point I've been attempting to make here is that, yes, Christian peoples have behaved badly (though not usually for religious motivations), but in the case of Muslims, the violent attitude towards "the other" is not incidental to Islam, it is foundational.

Mike tells us Muhammed first fought with other Arabs; in fact he conquered Mecca and then the rest of the peninsula. Among his first acts as "prophet" while at Medina was the destruction of the three Jewish tribes he found living in peace with the two Arab tribes he was invited there to mediate between.

His treatment of the Jews consisted of execution, enslavement and exile. Their crime was recognizing that the Koran was largely plagarized from the Bible, both old and new testaments, and refusing to accept "the prophet" as such.

The Koran is full of contempt and hatred of Jews and, to a lesser degree, Christians. This kind of animus is foundational to no other of the "great religions" and does truly set Islam apart as not a religion of peace.

Larry Wirth

One last thought: if you read it, the Koran (apart from the Suras based on the Bible), the document more closely resembels "Mein Kampf" than the Judeo-Christian scriptures.

Mike Thornton

"Allah" is the God of Abraham, which is the same God that the "Jews" and the "Christians" worship and in fact according to the Quran Jesus, who is considered a great prophet will return to Damascus as part of the signs that the "Day of Judgement" is at hand.
Muhammad's animus against the Jews of his day were largely based in his view that they betrayed him in his fight against the Quraysh rulers of Mecca, who for a number of reasons, including that Muhammad preached a gospel of a single God "Allah" "The God" as compared to the worshiping of the "Banat AlLah" who were the three daughters of God. Muhammad's victory over the Meccans was a pretty improbable one and led to the premise that "Allah" favored Muhammad and his new religion of Islam. The Arab people quickly grabbed onto the unifying framework of Islam, in part because they had nothing like the Torah and the Bible and were in fact a bit jealous of that fact.
While it's true, that Jews and Christians did not have the same rights as Muslims in Muslim dominated lands, they were largely left alone and allowed to practice their religion and customs. This is something that can hardly be said for most of Europe and Russia, where Jews were regularly victims of "pogroms" led by the Christian majority. In fact one of the legacies of the Muslim/Moorish presence in Southern Spain are communities where Christians, Jews and Muslims have been living in relative peace and harmony for centuries.
Does this mean that the Muslims and Islam are without any faults or not guilty of their own crimes and excesses? Of course not!, But the one-sided view put forth by some here who claim to be great scholars is less than a stellar.

Todd Juvinall

It appears you and Wirth have a different view of he historical issues. Your cut and paste is interesting but I find it interesting you claim the Arabs defeated the Meccans in what? A debate? No, a war. And the Jews were around and had a one GOD belief for two thousand years before the Koran came along and cherry picked some of it. Even the Christians were around for 650 years before Mohamed cherry picked the New Testament. Then they conquered by force and said to all the "infidels" they conquered, become one of us or die. Yep, that peaceful Muslim's, just a fantasy.

Mike Thornton

Todd: (a) you should leave the factual debate to people who actually know what they're talking about. Regardless of whether I agree with Steve or not, I don't argue that he doesn't know what he's talking about, because he clearly does! What I'm arguing about is that (in my opinion) he's only presenting one side of the story and therefore is making a biased arguement.
(b) I don't "cut and paste". I've been to Old Jerusalem, Todd and have stood at the Dome of the Rock, the Wailing Wall and the site of Jesus' crucifixion and have walked the Via Dolorosa"
Why do you insist on regurgitating what I've already said, not only pretend I didn't say it, but go on to claim it as your own and use it as an argument against something that wasn't even said in the first place?
Yes, the Muslims "conquered by force" And so did the Jews and so did the Christians.
Todd, do you really want to compare the "body count" between Muslims and Christians?
Try going to South and Central America or the African Continent or talk to the Native People of North America and ask them about what the "Christians" brought to their shores when they arrived.
I understand that you have a difficult time with complex concepts, like the fact that there can actually be more than one bad guy/good guy at a time and in fact they can all be one and the same at the very same time.
The fact is that Muhammad at first had a, fledgling, alliance with the Jews that lived in the area and clearly believed that they, the Christians and the Muslims were all "People of the Book".
Look, if you hate all Muslims and believe Islam is evil and must be eradicated, just say that. But don't waste your time, trying to prove that they're any more or less evil. than these other folks are.
I know you'll refuse to believe it, but I can give you examples of how many of the Jewish settlers in the West Bank, not only take Palestinian land, by force, attack their children and defile their mosques while trying to shame and degrade them every day. I've seen it with my own eyes and you can't tell me that if somebody did that to you, that you would turn around and say: "No problem, that's OK!"
Or maybe you would.....

Todd Juvinall

Well, it appears you still have no grasp of factual history. You just keep spewing your version of Christian bad, everybody else good. Tell us how you can know more about history by standing at the Wailing Wall than anybody else? Amazing arrogance but not not unusual for people who have no clue. But I digress. Please explain to us all what you know about the Christian Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks. How about telling us how the Arabs got all of North Africa and into Spain in 60 years? Debating the natives? How about the wars between the Indians and Pakistani's? You see Thornton, you have a one sided view of passing over Muslims atrocities and expanding on others. I recall a terrible pestilence called the Black Death that killed up to 30% of all Europeans. Where did that start eh? You are simply uneducated on the facts and I and Wirth will call you on your fibs every time.

RL Crabb

You might as well give up, Mike. Arguing with Todd is about as useful as arguing with a cinderblock.

Mike Thornton

Do you just write whatever you 're going to write, regardless of what's been said?
I'm sorry, but did I ever say that there was no Turkish led genocide of the Armenians?
The Arabs got to North Africa exactly how you think they got there and on top of that they have been brutal to the (largely) Christian, Black Africans in Southern Sudan to this very day.
And as Steve (correctly) pointed out the other day the French brutalized the Algerians and the Dutch and the Brits ran amok in South Africa and colonized Rhodesia and Shell Oil pays mercenaries to kill activists in Nigeria, so what's your point?
The Black Death? Are you saying that the Muslims attacked Europe with germ Warfare?
Where did the Small Pox come from that killed Pacific Islanders and North American Indians?
How about the wars between the Pakistanis and Indians and the fact that there are extremist Muslims and extremist Hindus and there have been massacres on both side of that coin?
Todd, look I know you want to hate the Muslims, so just hate them and be done with it.
You do know that there was something like 100 Million. Black Africans killed as a result of the slave trade, right? And you do know that there many millions more killed in the Spanish Conquest of South and Central America, right? And then there's North America..... Do you just pretend that none of that happened and that it's only the Muslims, that have done horrible things?
Because that's what it seems like and for the life of me, I can't understand how or why you do that!

Todd Juvinall

I like that cinderblock analogy. they are use everywhere and many things are built with them.Since RL has no opinion of Thornton's rock position I assume he agrees with him. Too bad.

I don't hate anyone Thorton, I am putting out information just like you are. If you can't deal with that then that is your problem. Seems you have covered the atrocity meter of all people's in your last post. You have a bent towards justifying Muslim activities in the last century and we are simply trying to provide balance. I do not accept your premise that all of the worlds ills are caused by the west. You seem to. So, you can go have a beer with those that agree with you and I will with those that agree with me.

Mike Thornton

Yes, Todd you're a "hater". It couldn't be more clear than if you had it tattooed on your forehead.
But, I know that the vast majority of "hate" is actually rooted in "fear".
Maybe someday you'll get over that. I hope so, for your sake.

Greg Goodknight

I can't say Todd is motivated by hate anymore than you are, Mike. As far as I can tell, most who are so polarized have no clue what the motivations are of their opposites.

In the real world, there seems to be two basic camps: 'turn the other cheek' and 'praise the lord, pass the ammunition'. It isn't necessarily that much maligned "fear" that is the motivation. I'm not "fearful" of rattlesnakes in my yard, but if one pops up, it will probably be dispatched as humanely as I can manage. Not fear, but when it's an issue of them or my family or animals, well, the viper will be the one to get recycled.

While I don't care for the R-word, I accept what George means by his use is that the R's are the ones who have declared war against us, and he's in the "pass the ammunition" camp. Nothing hateful about that, just a realistic assessment of the job that needs to be done.

With luck, the awakening of the Muslim street will be followed by a cleaning of their own house. We should let them do it with as little interference as is practical.

Paul Emery

Greg

I appreciate your insight in this but where does our foreign policy of the last 60 years come into the picture. I keep using the history of our recent CIA sponsored coup in Iran to emphasize why we (meaning all outsiders) are hated in the region and how that inspires violent retribution such as the attacks on 9/11. We must take some responsibility for our violation of the sovereignty of the nations in the region. Again, I highly recommend reading "God's Terrorists" by Charles Allen to understand the motivations and roots of modern Jihad.

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/gods-terrorists-by-charles-allen-468226.html

Brad Croul

One thing that I don't think has been pointed out here is that the majority of the religious conquests and atrocities occurred centuries ago. This is true of both Christianity and Islam.
Recent incidents appear to me to be the result of fundamentalist, or radical, religious viewpoints; or religious teachings that are used as an excuse by groups to achieve some goal.

The majority of people subscribe to more of a "live and let live" philosophy.

Probably the main reason I don't care for organized religions is because of the groups that use religion as a means to an end; the end usually revolving around taking something from someone or some group.

We will always be fighting over something, be it water, oil, land, food, money, jobs, or anything else perceived as being in short supply.

There will always be the Bin Ladens, Timothy McVeighs, Jonestown Jims, Waco cultists,or an IRA, some more dangerous to Americans than others.

Keep in mind that not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims.

Greg Goodknight

Paul, I posted a link either here or at Steele's with a quote from a scholar in Lebanon. Well worth reading. To the effect that the Moslem world has blamed everyone but themselves over the past 60 years, and part of the awakening of Moslems is a realization they've been putting up with tyrannical butchers of their own. Most of their problems are home grown and killing infidels isn't going to solve them.

Finding reasons to blame someone else is as old as the judeo-christian scriptures, and the threads of the modern middle east mess predate the existence of the CIA.

Greg Goodknight

"Keep in mind that not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims."

As far as I can tell, no one here has ever managed to forget anything so basic. So why bring it up?

Brad Croul

Greg,

"...no one here has ever managed to forget anything so basic".
Who are you presuming to speak for?

Mike Thornton

Greg, Paul and Brad all raise good points!
But for Greg: I think the difference between my position and George's is that George sees the Muslim world and Islam in the same way that many of the staunch Cold Warriors viewed the Soviet Union. (a) I think they are/were different things and so therefor need different approaches. I think using the "R-word" is both a tactical and strategies mistake. George has appeared to back off from its use and I think he is correct to do so.
Todd on the other hand (in my opinion simply enjoys the process of having someone/something to hate. If it's not Muslims, its Liberals or Obama or whoever/whatever his target of the minute is.
I'd like to be clear about one other thing: I'm anything but "turn the other cheek" type of person. I believe in the concepts of self defense and of "Just" war. I also believe that we need to find a way to live together on this planet and the Muslims have as much right as we do, to live in peace and security. When people like Todd do their "Good American/Christian, Bad Arab/Muslim" it over simplifies the situation and in fact plays right into the hands of the people who are using the "America is the Great Satan and out to destroy Islam" rap as a recruiting tool. Think about it, you got to pretty darn motivated and/or pretty darn hopeless to be a "suicide" bomber. So while I think the flag waving parties when Osama Bin Laden was killed were inappropriate, I'm glad he's dead! And I believe that any and all people Muslim or otherwise who are bent on murder and destruction, particularly of innocents, need to be stopped by "whatever means necessarily". However we can't take that stand and continue to kick sand in their faces and expect them not to react and react badly. I frankly don't see how any reasonably intelligent person can argue against this, unless their hatred of Muslims and Islam is their real motivating factor. I mean I guess we can add greed for their resources to the mix as well, but if that's the case just be honest about it!
My point about having been to the Middle east on a couple of occasions and studying about the region and it's history is that it's complicated and those complications have been building since the time of Muhammad. We simply can't pretend that they don't exist, because Michael Savage and Glenn Beck say "Good Christian, Bad Muslim."

Paul Emery

Greg

There's an old saying that there's nothing better for religion than a good healthy devil. Do you think 9/11 would have happened if we hadn't meddled in the affairs of the sovereign nations of the region? Remember, it is estimated that 50,000 Iranians were killed and executed by the dictator the Shah of Iran, the guy we installed and maintained after the 1953 coup. At what point does a sovereign nation have the right to fight back after a foreign invasion or takeover? The fervor of the radical Islamists was nurtured by the West when it was used against the Russians in Afghanistan but after their ouster they turned on us for the same reasons.

Greg Goodknight

Brad Croul,

If you hadn't edited my quote, you could have answered your own question quite handily: I wrote, "As far as I can tell..."

I was presuming to speak for myself. Was that so hard?

Greg Goodknight

M Thorton, I think you're forcing George into the box that the left has been putting conservatives during the cold war, a comfortable sterotype. This isn't the cold war, the Soviets were not cooking up plots for murdering US civilians.

P Emery, I met Ron Paul at Timothy Leary's house 23 years ago when Leary hosted a reception for the '88 Presidential Campaign, and the only two political parties at the time with platforms of not messing in the internal affairs of other countries were the Libertarian and Peace & Freedom Parties; not surprising, because the LIBs were originally an offshoot of the P&FP. I was firmly against the '90 Desert Shield and Storm, but grudgingly approving of the toppling of the Baathists in Iraq, an unfortunate necessity after the flawed concept of Desert Storm was made WORSE by not finishing the job.

The midddle east during the cold war was a hodgepodge of US and USSR client states. Syria was in the USSR camp, Israel and (for a time) Iran was in ours. Turkey was mostly friendly to us, and we paid them a lot to have electronic outposts on their border to monitor USSR ICBM testing. Egypt was for a time more friendly towards the Soviets.

It was, and still is, a mess. It does appear that many of Islam's tyrants are finally becoming afraid of their own people, and this is a good thing. Maybe as a partial result they will finally love their children more than they hate Israelis.

George Rebane

I find blaming the US for 9/11 is too simplistic. The forces at work in the middle east have been complex, more so in recent decades. In cases of interpreting the actions of militant Islam, I prefer starting with history (as do they) and then believing their own considerable writings on the subject of their strategic disposition toward the west.

Re all religions needing a good devil, it would have been very easy for the Arab countries to have absorbed the Palestinian refugees. They were kept as refugees in the periphery of Israel for a strategic reason.

(The US and the west could have done the same with the millions of east Europeans after WW2 as part of the cold war against Soviet expansion.)

Mike Thornton

Well Greg there is no doubt that the Arab nations use the Palestinians for their own political ends, of course that doesn't change the fact, that while many Palestinians left their homes ahead of the Arab attack on the Israelis, many also were forced to flee as a result of organized terror campaigns led by Israeli paramilitary and terrorist organizations. But as always the situation is "complicated" since their are a few small communities in Israel that have Jews, Christians and Muslims living together in a communal environment to this very day.
I think the "You're blaming the US for 9/11." is an example of an over simplification!
All anybody is saying is that there is a wider context of events, both current and historical that make the "Good American, Bad Muslim." position a fairly ridiculous and more importantly ineffective one.
The Baathists and more particularly Saddam Hussein, were our guys and when they were attacking the Kurds and especially in the war with Iran we supported them. Only later when Saddam got too big for his britches and started talking about nationalizing the oil and messing with the Sheiks in Kuwait did he get himself in trouble with the US. But the real kicker was when the Bush Family friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia got scared of Iraq. That's when things really hit the fan for the Butcher of Baghdad and by the way when OBL really set his sights on the US, because of the US troops being brought in to Saudi.
Getting back to the refugee thing for a minute, the US didn't have such a great record when it came to Jews fleeing Nazism prior to the Holocaust or for that matter responding to repeated request to bomb the rail lines leading to the camps.
And yes, that was a Democratic Administration and a horrible decision, along with the internment of the Japanese, made by one of our greatest presidents ever, FDR.
He really effed up there, but you guys still can't have the dime to put Ronnie Reagan's mug on!

Todd Juvinall

What this line of discussion proves is each person has read the history books of their choice and now maintain a world view all their own. George and Russ are probably the only veterans here and have actual experience on the issues we book readers and newspaper lookers have. So I would say they are the people we need to listen too more. I agree with some of the points even from Paul and Thornton but only on sme of the the historical facts not much on the outcomes they now think are the reasons for the Geo-politic. For every atrocity the leftwing extremists conjure up against the west or America, there are hundreds more from the East and Middle East. Simply because the American nation is only 240 years old and the others are thousands. What cracks me up is the self importance the left has about the outrage they claim America is guilty of, The Iran issue is one of them. The USSR wanted a warm water port for hundreds of years and they were after Iran. The West stopped the Russians from achieving their takeover by helping get the Shah into power. (I think he was actually in a line of rulers deposed earlier). So, the left then shouts with glee when the Ayatollah regains power and the religious nuts take over. Now isn't that special? The left hates religion yet supports people like the Mullahs of Iran because they took over from a USA supported ruler. Amazing. I have more but my fingers are tires.

Oh BTW, I don't hate anyone Mikee, I am simply cautious.

Greg Goodknight

"All anybody is saying is that there is a wider context of events, both current and historical that make the "Good American, Bad Muslim." position a fairly ridiculous and more importantly ineffective one."


Thornton, no one I know of has a "Good American, Bad Muslim." position, your whole argument is based on a straw man.

Larry Wirth

Not to be a spoiler here, but Mike, you need to get your "math" on more solid ground. At the time the "slave trade" flourished, the "dark continent" probably contained less than 50 million human inhabitants. Are you telling us, in cold blood, that European slavers killed all of them twice?

I'd guess the death toll of the slave trade probably amounted to a few thousands, a far cry from a "hundred million." Where do you get your "talking points," MSNBC? Of all the preposterous things you've said here, that one sands out loud and clear.

Paul Emery

Todd, I never said that the US didn't have strategic reasons for their own benefit to wage a coup and replace a democratically elected leader with a favorable dictator. In fact you confirm that notion. So in your opinion if a sovereign nation's leadership is deposed by a foreign entity doesn't that give them the right to retaliate? Again, imagine if the shoe was on the other foot if the Iranians ousted Truman and installed their own guy what would we do? I'm just trying to put recent history in perspective to better understand why we have become targets of Muslim extremists.

Do you not consider the coup against the sovereign nation of Iran an "outrage", as you use the word?

Iran is only one example. The point is they hate us because we're there. Again, "we" means all foreign intruders. "They" refers to the radical Islamic factions.

Todd Juvinall

Pail wasn't the Shah actually a legal heir to power in Iran? I suggest you read "Jefferson's War" if you haven't. The west was under attack and paid tribute to the Barbary Pirates in the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries until Thomas Jefferson kicked their butts in Tripoli. The reason the "pirates" were doing this is because they had declared "Jihad" against everything western. Some things never change eh?

Paul Emery

The US led coupis a more recent example of piracy, this time about oil. The whole point of this conversation is to look at the root causes of Islamic terrorism so I think it's relevant.


Iran was a Democratic Republic at the time of the coup. The Shah was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi of the Iranian monarchy. He was at the time of the coup the Monarch but the country was a Parliamentary style Democracy. The Shah dissolved the Parliament and ruled as a dictator until deposed in 1979

Here is more about the Iran coup from a study based
on documents released to the National Security Archive and reflected in the book Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran, edited by Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne.


"In 1957, the CIA helped to found Iran’s secret police, which had unlimited powers of arrest and detention. It eventually became a law unto itself, imposing the Shah’s authority through its reign of terror and torture . An estimated 13,000 Iranians were killed by SAVAK’s agents; among other distinguished acts of state loyalty, it brutally repressed the riots and demonstrations that, starting in 1978, eventually led to the Shah’s deposition by Ayatollah Khomeiny a year later; untold thousands were gunned down during those riots.

The '28 Mordad' coup, as it is known by its Persian date, was a watershed for Iran, for the Middle East and for the standing of the United States in the region. The joint U.S.-British operation ended Iran's drive to assert sovereign control over its own resources and helped put an end to a vibrant chapter in the history of the country's nationalist and democratic movements. These consequences resonated with dramatic effect in later years. When the Shah finally fell in 1979, memories of the U.S. intervention in 1953, which made possible the monarch's subsequent, and increasingly unpopular, 25-year reign intensified the anti-American character of the revolution in the minds of many Iranians."

Todd Juvinall

I wonder how many Iranian and Iraqi lives would have been saved if there had been no war between them when the Ayatollah was head honcho? I guess one good coup deserves anther eh?

Paul Emery

You might sense here that I embrace to a considerable degree a Ron Paul preference on foreign policy.

Todd The Iran-Iraq war. A half million lives were lost in that long and futile war. That war began when Iraq invaded Iran on September 1980. We supported both sides but mostly Iraq. In those days Saddam was our guy . A successful invasion of Iran would enlarge Iraq's oil reserves and make Iraq the dominant power in the Persian Gulf region and we wanted to be part of the action. Generally,Iraq was regarded by the West as a counterbalance to post-revolutionary Iran so we overlooked his use of chemical warfare . We did protest verbally to his use of chemical weapons but continued to support him with logistics and materials even after his use of such weapons against the Kurds in his own territory.

Todd Juvinall

Paul, what do think things would look like today if Iran was taken by the USSR for their warm water port?

Paul Emery

Todd

That is a highly hypothetical conjecture and if it's meant to be used as a reasoning for the coup in Iraq it won't stand up to even the most casual inquiry. They would still have to secure a land route to the port which would involve going over the Kyber Pass through Afghanistan. You saw what happened when they tried that 20 years later. Here's my thoughts on the issue of empire building and maintenance.

Let me start with a quote from Ron Paul from a speech he gave while advocating our withdrawal from Iraq

"Special interests and the demented philosophy of conquest have driven most wars throughout history. Rarely has the cause of liberty, as it was in our own revolution, been the driving force. In recent decades our policies have been driven by neo-conservative empire radicalism, profiteering in the military industrial complex, misplaced do-good internationalism, mercantilistic notions regarding the need to control natural resources, and blind loyalty to various governments in the Middle East."

The coup was staged to secure strategic resources and no other reason. The cold war was tagged as a secondary reason but it was really all about oil and the fact that Mohammad Mosaddeq chose to nationalize Iranian oil to cut out British Petroleum so he could get a better deal for his country. We made the choice to sacrifice the liberty of the Iranian people to secure our Empire interests. This is a good source for the story.

http://www.nytimes.com/library/world/mideast/041600iran-cia-index.html

Todd Juvinall

So the manifest destiny started by Peter the Great was not an issue then? Why did the Rooskies invade and keep the Baltic states? I think you are underplaying them and I am not sure why.

Todd Juvinall

BTW Paul, could you and Thorton explain to us why the Muslims are burning down dozens of Coptic Christian churches and murdering their members in Egypt? I am reading this is happening since Mubarak left. Also, the burners are the "street" Muslims. What the heck?

Mike Thornton

Why is it that when Todd thinks the context of history bolsters his arrangement it's then useful to focus upon it, but when it doesn't it's to be ignored?

Todd Juvinall

Can't answer the question eh? Typical leftwing dodge.

Mike Thornton

Gee, Todd, I would have thought you'd know the answer to that one?
My guess it's because they're "haters", something you know more than a little bit about!
Of course the other side of this is; How many Muslims, didn't burn down any Coptic Christian Churches in Egypt today or yesterday or for the last 1000 years?

Todd Juvinall

I know about haters because you and your ilk have taught the world your hate. I don't hate anyone so you are simply making it up for your own leftwingnut reasons. The Muslims are burning the Coptic's out because they have been doing it since Mohamed was alive. Why do you hate America Thornton? Did it do you wrong?

Paul Emery

Todd

"Manifest Destiny" is just another word for beating the crap out of your neighbors and taking everything they have just because you can. We certainly don't have a franchise on the concept. The point to be made is with our recent history we shouldn't set ourselves up as an exception to the rule. Russians in the Baltics? Sure. Ottoman Empire? Sure. European Colonialism? Sure. On and on..............

Why are the Coptic churches being burnt down? (I think it's only one) Because that's what people do to each other and have been doing for thousands of years (church burning). Look at the history of the Klu Klux Clan in this country or the Catholics in Aztec Mexico or the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland or the Taliban in Afghanistan or the Chinese in Tibet. If what you are getting at is that this is a uniquely Moslem trait look again at history, something you like to do . They all have God or the State on their side if you ask them.

Now answer mine. Here's one you never answered.
"Do you not consider the coup against the sovereign nation of Iran an "outrage", as you use the word?"

Steve Enos

Hey George.. didn't Todd recently post he would stop with all his personal, off topic attacks on your blog?

Seems the follwoing post by Todd again shows Todd can't keep his word... will you George? Will you ever apply standards to Todd?

It's clear to all that read this blog that the number one poster of personal attacks is Todd.. a fact.. here is just one more example from Todd:

"I know about haters because you and your ilk have taught the world your hate. I don't hate anyone so you are simply making it up for your own leftwingnut reasons. The Muslims are burning the Coptic's out because they have been doing it since Mohamed was alive. Why do you hate America Thornton? Did it do you wrong?"

EXIT QUESTION... George why do you allow Todd to do this over and over and over?

Mike Thornton

To be fair, I did sorta tweak Todd's nose on this one.
However, I'd really like to ask Todd a couple of serious questions: (1) Are all Muslims bad and if so, why? Do you object to Islam as a religion (not the acts of a few of it's so-called adherents) but as a religion in and of itself and if so, why" (2) If all Muslims aren't "bad", what is the percentage of Muslims that are? And (3) Do you believe that Islam, rates as one of the world's "great" religions and should be accorded equal respect with Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.? If not, why?

Todd Juvinall

Paul, I gave you my view on Iran. Read back. SteveE, stop whining. Mike Thornton, I will answer your questions after you answer mine.

Steve Enos

Hey Todd... how about you keep your word to George and stop with the endless, needless, personal attacks?

EXIT QUESTION... George why do you allow Todd to do this over and over and over?

Todd Juvinall

SteveE stop whining. You come of as immature.

Steve Enos

Once again.. Todd shows everyone what he really is.

EXIT QUESTION... George why do you allow Todd to do this over and over and over?

Paul Emery

Todd

Can you refresh me on your opinion on

"Do you not consider the coup against the sovereign nation of Iran an "outrage", as you use the word?"
Looking back I couldn't find a clear answer from you.

Mike Thornton

I don't know what question you mean, Todd?
If it's actually a legitimate one, I'm sure I'll answer it.

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