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September 08, 2006

Comments

For me, the above events simply reinforce that we are fighting a certain ideology and its activist practitioners.

While for me, it indicates that the disasterous foreign policies of the US in the last five years have resulted in the militization of radicals, the radicalization of moderates, eradicated peaceful means of resolving conflict in the minds of many, destabilized a good portion of the globe, set humanitarian intervention back by decades, made fear of "liberation" greater than dislike of autocracy, and destroyed alliances that would have been effective in dealing with these crises.

Next up: Nuclear weapons programs for everyone! Yay!!

.. or, in the form of a one-act play:

Joe: "We must liberate Iraq to fight terrorism."

Jane: "Thats counter-productive. Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism, and an invasion will probably just create more terrorists."

Joe: "No it won't, you Saddam-lover. Hey, where are all these terrorists coming from?"

Change the title of this post to a sneering "Religion of Peace Watch," and Charles' post is officially Little Green Footballs material. And with that, that'll be the last time I visit Obsidian Wings; I'm not gonna support that kind of crap.

Don't forget to use some OxyClean on the carpet after this post, hilzoy and Katherine, and I hope you continue to make a difference.

CB: I'd say that it's highly unlikely that todays bombings in Malegaon were at the hands of 'Islamists'. According to the Times (of London),

Malegaon has suffered regular outbreaks of religious conflict since 1962, most recently in 2001 when 15 people were killed in rioting between Hindus and Muslims.

P. S. Pasricha, the director-general of police in Maharashtra, said that the entire state had been put on high alert to prevent further bloodshed.

“The motive appears to be to create panic and make Hindus and Muslims fight with each other,” he said.

He said that seven police officers had been injured in clashes with crowds in Malegaon, but insisted that the situation was under control.

“We have activated all police machinery to ensure that communal harmony is maintained,” he said.

The explosions have come four days before the verdicts are due to be announced for 123 defendants in a trial linked to the 1993 bomb attacks in Bombay that killed 257.

Those bombings were blamed on underworld figures and Islamic militants retaliating for Hindu-Muslim riots in 1992-93, triggered by the demolition of a mosque at Ayodhya, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, by Hindu zealots.

Events on the ground are still ongoing, and it's certainly possible that Islamic militants were attempting to stir up ethnic conflict, but I don't think this incident belongs on your list at this time.

I actually spent more than a few minutes doing complex mental gymnastics trying to figure out how Charles might come to the conclusion that today's bombing s in India, targetting Muslims, were the acts of Muslims.

Not only did I not come up with any reasonable scenario, I might have hurt my brain. So I figure he just really, really wanted to add it to the list.

Phil: don't go. We'll miss you.

I don't understand. There are something like a billion Muslims in the world, and most of them live in places of very little political stability. They're just really isn't any need to recourse to cultural explanation to explain this level of violence.

And, no, I don't think those places are unstable because of the Muslims.

Europe was a pretty violent place throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. I kind of think that some of these countries are fighting the sorts of wars that Europe fought a few hundred years ago.

That tar baby's a bitch, ain't it?

Hey, whatever happened to Triumph of the Will? Has anyone dropped in there lately?

DPU, it's simple. Because "the methods are familiar." People were blown up. Islamists often blow people up. Therefore, whenever people are blown up, we should assume that Islamists are responsible. Isn't that obvious? This reminds me of the killing of the Armanious family, in which Islamists were also assumed to be responsible until proven otherwise. Not that Charles harbors any prejudices against muslims, not at all. Just those rotten Islamists.

Phil, if you are leaving, you have to nominate someone to be to go to person for really getting upset with Charles. You could pass it back to me, but I think it would be best to get some new blood. There are also some other people you deflate from time to time, so I'm a bit worried that this place will be like a room filled with ever expanding balloons.

This is World War IV

If ever there was an indicator of a lack of critical thought, you're looking at it here.

Sorry, forgot to add that TiO is open for business on this with "Charles as Casey Kasem"

-In mentioning the “glory of Allah” we are talking about the Christian god as well.

-We are also employing a “certain ideology.”

-“Information war”? The word information is used here as loosely as the word experiment farther up the post.

-“This is World War IV, or as I call it, the WAMI (War Against Militant Islamism).” What a wonderfully accurate anachronism. How did you ever come up with that one?

Ara writes: “I don't understand. There are something like a billion Muslims in the world, and most of them live in places of very little political stability. They're just really isn't any need to recourse to cultural explanation to explain this level of violence.”

There is if your “certain ideology” requires the positing of an “us” versus “them” dichotomy in an apocalyptic fight to the finish (hence the “World War IV” label above). Check out Samuel Huntington’s or Victor Davis Hanson’s work, they’ll tell you all about it. Killing them all and letting god sort them out is a far simpler and more palatable solution than attempting empathy or looking for solutions based on root causes. What we are confusing here is the expression of a problem via the ideology of “Militant Islamism” with the problem itself. How do you fight a war against an idea? Get rid of the material conditions that make recourse to the idea as a solution a viable option. But for the US to do that will mean putting the kibosh on our imperial hegemony which is why our only option is to quash the symptom of the problem and why all Muslims, all “terrorists,” are lumped into a single “evil” bunch of bad guys.

I guess I must conclude, after reading another ever impeccably reasoned post by Mr. Bird, that it is impossible to be an Islamic militant and not to be a terrorist. It is also apparent that the United States, in its mighty glory, never ever kills or mistreats human beings purely for puerile political reasons. It isn't as if torture is remotely comparable to what Islamic militants (euphemism for terrorists) do. It isn't as if aiding and abetting terrorist states in Latin America amounted to the sort of crimes that Arab countries in the Middle East perpetrate when they fail to thwart terrorists in their midst. And it isn't as if the U.S. holds any responsibility for the increasing number of losses of innocent life in the Middle East. It is simple, black and white, like "everything" should be: We are the good guys, the ones who regret it when we kill and torture, the ones who value the lives of innocent civilians with almost cosmopolitanist fervor, while they are the fastidious pests, the irrational, callous threat that does not value the life of innocent civilians.

otto: I'd also add that it's highly problematic to conflate multiple attacks that took place in diverse geographic locations as being of a single cloth.

The motivations of militants in the Mideast, Thailand, India, Morocco, the Philippines, etc are all distinctly influenced by local politics, indigenous ethnic conflict, and many other divergent factors that go well beyond a simplistic universal Muslim desire to 'murder civilians...for the glory of Allah and His Prophet.'

To me, this qualifies as a terrorist attack because, even though the Talibaner targeted a U.S. convoy, the result was sixteen Afghan deaths

A standard you would never apply to deaths caused in similar circumstances by non-Islamic forces. This alleged standard means that the US has killed thousands of Iraqs by utilizing "terror." What a hypocrite.

All three attacks in Iraq were against police targets. Its a war.

This is World War IV, or as I call it, the WAMI (War Against Militant Islamism). For me, the above events simply reinforce that we are fighting a certain ideology and its activist practitioners.

Just stick with WAMI. If you actually believed the world war nonsense, then you must decry the feckless effort by Republicans to actually fight "WWIV." Actually, its a minor war compared to past challenges, and requires only a fraction of the effort and manpower to combat.

I am certain that you could compile a similar blotter of violence around the globe every week that is non-Islamist. The world happens to be a messy place.

At some point, this fixation on Islam as the cause must be ascribed to blind prejudice.

"Information War."

It worth noting that CB's link is to a dispute about whether or not the AP had fairly summarized the contents of Rumsfeld's recent inflammatory speech.

In other words, the "Information War" consists of politicized statements by administration figures for domestic political gain. Muat make sure to attack those Dems in order to win the Information War.

Ridiculous.

Oh, and Ara (and anyone else who may be interested),

If you are not a Muslim or don’t know about the religion, do yourself a favor and visit the closest mosque in your area. Call ahead to let them know you are coming so that someone can show you around. Attend the service. Talk with the imam afterward about any questions you have. If you do this with an open mind, it is quite likely that you will be unable to view this self-destructive continuation of the Cold War through the “your-either-with-us-or-against-us”/clash of civilizations lens again.


mattbastard,

Indeed.

otto: for the record, 'add' should have been 'agree'.

Ah, for my own personal copy editor...

Suckered in by Charles' nearly hogwash-free post on Darfur, I dove right into this one. My reaction is just about like Phil's, but I won't be able to take up his mantle. Between now and November 7, I won't have time to read but a small proportion of the posts here, and certainly not to comment.

To smush together every occasion of violence and terror commited by Muslims as all one thing is such an obviously wrong approach that it seems pointless to introduce actual facts to attempt to distinguish them one from another.

Still, as I go I'd rather deal in a small bit of substance rather than bile:

[Iraq] In another attack, insurgents killed three civilians and wounded 17 people in a roadside bombing near a Sunni mosque in northeast Baghdad.

The attack was against a police patrol near Al-Nida mosque in the largely Shiite Al-Qahira neighbourhood which has been the site of numerous attacks in the past few weeks.

Insurgents also set off a car bomb near a police commando checkpoint close to the central Baghdad Tayran Square on the way to the interior ministry, killing three police and five civilians and wounding 30 people, Gen. Khalaf said.

Nothing Islamist there, just good old civil war. That last car bomb has all the marks of the Sunni tribes/former Iraq army faction, Iraq's most secular population outside the big city.

Charles: Ideology's blinding you to any kind of realistic, much less sophisticated understanding of a pretty serious set of phenomena. It keeps people from taking you seriously.

I think this is really a very enlightening post by Charles. It shows the basic assumption by those on the right that militant jihadist Islam threat to our way of life.

This is the basic message that Bush puts out there every day.

The flaws in the list have been pointed out by others, so I won't go into that. And yes, the current level of violence differs only in technology from that imposed by Christians on Christians, by Christians on Moslms, and by Christians on Jews for several centuries.

Of course, There was undoubtedly a WAMC at that time.

And before anybody says I don't take the terrorist threat seriously, forget it.

I do, but not as a civilization threatening kind of threat.

And this adminsitration, and I think Charles if he was in a power position, have no idea how to really confront it

For those who want to follow Otto's advice and are in DC or NYC, you might want to attend the Unity Walk on Sunday, September 10. I went on the DC walk last year and got to hear Muslim prayers and music in a synagogue and Jewish prayers at the Islamic Center (after eating the dates and baklava provided at the midpoint on the walk). There were also Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs, of course, and I'm sure others represented among the walkers. Unfortunately this year I'll be missing it because of another event.

I can't decide which is more outrageous: (1) the assumption that an attack on Muslims in India, where Hindus have been attacking Muslims and vice versa for years, must have been perpetrated by Muslims or (2) the definition of terrorism as "an attack that kills more civilians than it kills members of the military" -- a definition under which the United States (and Israel, and plenty of other countries) are guilty of many terrorist attacks, except that presumably the definition also requires that the attackers be Muslim.

I suppose the second point could be okay if Charles were willing to apply it consistently. For example, one of the early attacks in the Iraq war, in which dozens of innocent people in a restaurant were killed by US bombs because Saddam Hussein was supposedly dining there, would clearly be terrorism. That doesn't sound unreasonable to me, but I doubt Charles sees it that way.

This is World War IV, or as I call it, the WAMI (War Against Militant Islamism).

Too bad that the Republicans actually running the show don't share your thinking. Via">http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_09/009469.php">Via Drum, the head of logistical planning for the 2003 invasion, Gen. Scheid, indicated that Rumsfeld threatened to fire anyone doing logistical planning for a longer occupation. It was get in, topple Saddam, and get out.

Which means that there was never any serious intention to instill democracy, or otherwise fight "WWIV." It was a military adventure of the most frivolous, and its crowning moment was the aircraft carrier stunt.

You have to be a fool to continue to believe in the Bush administration's "war plan." The only "plan" is manipulation of the war for domestic political gain. Belief in the war as a device to spread democracy was similar to being duped into playing three card monte -- Bush and crew obviously never took it seriously.

Book recommendation for Charles and others:

Marshall Hodgson's Venture of Islam -- Volume I, Volume 2, Volume 3 -- wasn't even completed when Hodgson died in 1968, but it's still incredibly topical and gripping. Yes, it's rather long, but it's splendidly written and doesn't attempt to go too fast, which would inevitably mean failing to give you a feel for his topic, which is one of the main currents in the river of human history. Reading such a long account of "Islamdom" (as Hodgson calls it) also lets the Western reader's mind get used to a vast amount of unfamiliar material. It's due to Hodgson that I always know the difference between Shiite and Sunni, and that I never forget that Iran, Turkey, and Egypt are not Arab nations.

If there's a briefer work on Islamic history that can do a decent job of teaching someone from "Christendom" on the major landmarks in "Islamdom", I'd like to hear about it, because Hodgson's 3 volumes and over 1000 pages certainly look daunting. But they're some of the fastest 1000 pages in historical writing, IMHO one of the high points of 20th-century scholarship.

We are the good guys, the ones who regret it when we kill and torture

no way. we brag about it. we are strong. for example, see the Bush quote at the top of Katherine's latest post.

WAMI

what about tWoT, and CSAVE ?

i've said it before, but again: if you guys can't stick with a name, it suggests you don't know your market and/or your product.

I never forget that Iran, Turkey, and Egypt are not Arab nations

Er? Iran and Turkey, of course, but Egypt?

Egyptians now speak Arabic, but they are not Arabs, they are *Egyptians*. Their ancestors were building pyramids thousands of years before camels were domesticated. Scholars of Islamdom often talk about the conflict between the Desert and the Sown, and Egyptians are 4-square on the side of the Sown, while Arabs are quintessentially from the Desert.

God, I'm sick of this.

There is certainly a threat that some persons, militant Islamists, perhaps, will try to hurt/kill some other persons, Westerners, perhaps. This should be stopped, but not by means that flagrantly violate or sell out our core values.

There is no chance whatsoever that such persons, militant Islamists, perhaps, could succeed in violently destroying The West and replacing it with an Islamic Caliphate, or whatever. Sorry, there just isn't. Grow up.

Egyptians now speak Arabic, but they are not Arabs...

Isn't the official name of the nation the "Arab Republic of Egypt"?

"Egyptians now speak Arabic, but they are not Arabs, they are *Egyptians*."

This is somewhat idiosyncratic, depending upon context. It's sort of a yes-and-no.

History of early Egypt:

From the initial Islamic invasion in 639 AD Egypt became part of the Arab world.
And this is standard nomenclature. Egypt has been regarded as Arab since the Byzantines were thrown out at that time by the Arabs (who were Muslims), and then ruled by the Ummayyads and then the Abbasids and then the Fatimids, and then Salah-din and the Ayyubids, and then the Mamlukes, which takes us up to 1517. Then came the Turks, who aren't Arabs, of course, but

In modern times, Pan-Arabism was the leading cause in the Arab world for a very long time, and Egypt was one of its centers. It was formerly for a time the "United Arab Republic."

In 727, to strengthen Arab representation, a colony of 3,000 Arabs was set up near Bilbeis. Meanwhile, the employment of the Arabic language had been steadily gaining ground, and in 706 it was made the official language of the government. Egyptian Arabic was to be born.
There's certainly an historic Egyptian identity, and distinctions to be drawn between it and the "Arabs," but Egypt has also been part of the Arab world for a fairly long time; certainly since the WWI Arab Revolt, and subsequent independence.

I'd say that it's useful to draw the distinction in some contexts, but not as an absolute statement, since it's also not a useful distinction in yet other common contexts.

"Isn't the official name of the nation the "Arab Republic of Egypt"?"

Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea.

But less snarky, killing them is easier then taking the longer route. Less effective in the long term, not systemic of the problem.

The problem with using physical force to try and stop this is that wars only end when the loser decides they end. Not when the winner decides that it ends. Until we can either remove the reasons why they are attacking us, or strike them so that they feel they have no way to strike us, i.e., feel defeated, this fight will not end.

"There is no chance whatsoever that such persons, militant Islamists, perhaps, could succeed in violently destroying The West and replacing it with an Islamic Caliphate, or whatever."

Freedom isn't free, you know. If we don't spend billions of dollars confronting Islamic militancy in the Middle East... er... strategically attacking a somewhat secularist regime to keep the War on Terror (TM) abroad, we'll find ourselves inundated with terrorists at home, and soon enough we won't have freedom. We will be under an Islamic caliphate of some sort, just like in the 80's we were so close to being invaded by millions of communist Nicaraguans.

Gary:

I'd say that it's useful to draw the distinction in some contexts, but not as an absolute statement, since it's also not a useful distinction in yet other common contexts.

I'm arguing that, on the contrary, the distinction is always there to one degree or another, though the Egyptians themselves may feel like glossing over it under certain circumstances. It's like the situation in the Hispanic regions of the Western Hemisphere: people there may choose at various times to think of themselves as "Spanish", but it's not really a useful term for understanding them or predicting what they're likely to do.

Hodgson would say that calling Egypt part of "the Arab world" was *never* accurate. Egypt is part of Islamdom -- the regions where most people are Muslims -- and its society is Islamicate, which Hodgson uses to "refer not directly to the religion, Islam, itself, but to the social and cultural complex historically associated with Islam and the Muslims, both among Muslims themselves and even when found among non-Muslims."

Both Muslims and non-Muslims tend to use "the Arab world" or "Arab society" to refer to Islamdom and Islamicate society, but that's at best synecdoche, at worst political posturing.

Check ya later, folks. Only so much space on the RSS, you know.

It's up to you guys, but I don't not read Bob Herbert or the N.Y. Times news section because David Brooks drives me nuts.

I never forget that Iran, Turkey, and Egypt are not Arab nations.

Nor the Sudan of course. Oh, wait...

Talk about opening up a can of worms. Or maybe it's a tin of bees. And is this related to the question of how one should refer to the language spoken in Iran when one is speaking English? What about when one is speaking, say, Hindi? And should the Ethiopan immigrants be considered part of the "black" community even though they're just as disconnected from it culturally as white folks?

*sigh* I don't feel right laughing about these things, but it's all just so damn funny.

"And is this related to the question of how one should refer to the language spoken in Iran when one is speaking English?"

Farsi?

I guess he didn't make as much of a splash as I thought...

Farsi is what I would say too, but I recently saw an Iranian blogger (can't remember who now) arguing quite vehemently (in English of course) that 'Farsi' is the Farsi name for the language, but not the English name. i.e. that the English name for the language spoken in Iran is 'Persian,' just as the English name for the language spoken in France is 'French' rather than 'Francais').

Mostly I thought it was funny that the question of Egyptian Arab-ness came up again so soon after the question of Sudanese Arab-ness (which I had planned to weigh in on but I got distracted).

Also I don't actually know what you would call it if you were speaking Hindi. I just sort of assumed that it would be either Farsi or Parsi.

I second DoctorScience on Hodgson.

I also suggest that before doing as roundup like this, it would be a good idea to establish some reasonably clear criteria for what counts as an "Islamist attack", or whatever, and ask yourself whether, if you used the same sort of criteria, you'd end up counting all the violent crimes committed by white people, the bombings by Basque separatist groups or the IRA, Russian action against Chechen rebels (and vice versa), etc., etc. as acts of Aryan supremacism. Because if you count that way, it's awfully easy to come up with large and threatening mass movements.

I also suggest that before doing as roundup like this, it would be a good idea to establish some reasonably clear criteria for what counts as an "Islamist attack"

I must protest. Calling on Charles to establish criteria prior to presenting his data is a clear contravention of Blogger's Union rules (II § 9, paragraph 11) regarding the "encouragement of other Union Members to undertake inquiries of an approximately scientifickal nature which may serve to refute their previously formed opinions." I shall be speaking with the steward as soon as I figure out which bar she's passed out in.

A Short History of Islam by Karen Armstrong, part of the Modern Chronicle series of compact historical studies, is very good. She places particular emphasis on the desired experiences within different teachings - what they considered important, what they hoped to achieve and what it would mean to think and live that way. She's interested and often sympathetic without giving up her own judgments, and the final section on fundamentalist movements worldwide, written in 1999-2000, is fair and careful and for that reason particularly strong in condemning efforts to flee from the rest of the world.

Thank you, Chuck, you have fulfilled your purpose.

My two cents on useful books:

"Holy Wars" by journalist Dilip Hiro with Huston Smith's "The World's Religions" for back up if you need it. I recommend "Holy Wars" because it is accessible and because it is useful to get a pre-Gulf War I and II perspective (it was published in 1989). On thumbing through it again just now, I find these sentences in the intro:

“Fundamentalism is the term used for the effort to define the fundamentals of a religious system and adhere to them. One of the cardinal tenets of Islamic Fundamentalism is to protect the purity of Islamic precepts from the adulteration of speculative exercises. Related to fundamentalism is Islamic revival or resurgence, a renewed interest in Islam. Behind all this is a drive to purify Islam in order to release all its vital force.”

Sound like any other fundamentalists you can think of?

Is it possible that, at least some, Islamic Fundamentalists in fact do not pine for the eradication of the US/West but instead simply want them out of their respective countries?

"Is it possible that, at least some, Islamic Fundamentalists in fact do not pine for the eradication of the US/West but instead simply want them out of their respective countries?"

Both Christianity and Islam claim to be the ultimate truth, and their fundamentalist strains both call for every believer to evangelize, and say that ultimately everyone in the world needs to be a believer to understand truth, worship God correctly, and so on, as I understand it.

As individuals, people vary widely in their actual beliefs, of course.

CB, I'd really be interested in your response to this http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_09/009469.php>story quoted by Drum.

'Buncha goddam criminals,' is my reaction, fwiw.

Fareed Zakaria:

The world of Islam is extremely diverse. We should recognize and act on this diversity—between Shiites and Sunnis, Persians and Arabs, Asians and Middle Easterners—and most especially between moderates and radicals. But instead the White House is lumping Chechen separatists in Russia, Pakistani-backed militants in India, Shiite politicians in Iraq and Sunni jihadists in Egypt all together as one worldwide movement. This is, of course, exactly what Osama bin Laden has argued all along. But why is Bush making bin Laden's case?

Change the title of this post to a sneering "Religion of Peace Watch," and Charles' post is officially Little Green Footballs material.

That's a pretty silly--and a pretty false--assertion, Phil. I suggest you take a deep breath and re-consider your hasty decision.

I'd say that it's highly unlikely that todays bombings in Malegaon were at the hands of 'Islamists'.

I'm not sure if it falls under the category of "highly unlikely" or not, mattt. If it were, why are investigators exploring the connection between Mumbai and Malegaon? Just this morning:

Investigators said although they had no evidence, they were exploring if the Malegaon explosions could be linked with the July 11 serial bombings on Mumbai's railway network that killed 186 people and wounded around 700...Supicions of a link between the two attacks were based on several arms and explosives seizures from Islamist militants in Maharashtra, including in Malegaon, this year.

A standard you would never apply to deaths caused in similar circumstances by non-Islamic forces.

False, dm. The U.S. forces targeting the most convenient militant target that happens to drive by--and in a crowded intersection and without regard to how may civilians are taken out--would be a violation of the Geneva Conventions and a terrorist act.

If you actually believed the world war nonsense, then you must decry the feckless effort by Republicans to actually fight "WWIV."

Already done that.

Actually, its a minor war compared to past challenges, and requires only a fraction of the effort and manpower to combat.

We disagree. Just because this is a different kind of war, doesn't make it minor.

At some point, this fixation on Islam as the cause must be ascribed to blind prejudice.

Stop mischaracterizing, dm. The focus is on Islamism, not Islam. There's a major difference, and you're bordering close to a posting rules violation for such a stupid assertion.

It worth noting that CB's link is to a dispute about whether or not the AP had fairly summarized the contents of Rumsfeld's recent inflammatory speech.

Another mischaracterization, because the link is much more than simply a dispute about what Rumsfeld said.

I kind of think that some of these countries are fighting the sorts of wars that Europe fought a few hundred years ago.

True, Ara, but not this week.

I guess I must conclude, after reading another ever impeccably reasoned post by Mr. Bird, that it is impossible to be an Islamic militant and not to be a terrorist.

You can't conclude that, pedro, because I didn't use the term "Islamic militant" except to describe MILF, which is not on the State Department list of terrorist organizations. The operative word is Islamist. Martin Kramer touches on the definition here. I use Islamist to differentiate from Islamic militants who do not employ terrorist tactics.

It is also apparent that the United States, in its mighty glory, never ever kills or mistreats human beings purely for puerile political reasons.

Since I've never written such a thing, I don't see how you call it "apparent".

Doctor Science,
Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll see if I can scare up a copy.

Charles: that's one angle that's being investigated, although the key phrase is 'no evidence'. (However, this Hindu article quotes anonymous police sources who claim forensic tests indicate the bombs used in both Mumbai and Malegaon were 'identical'.) Perhaps 'highly unlikely' was inartful phrasing on my part, but there is, at this time, little conclusive evidence either way.

Regardless, I recommend you further acquaint yourself with Bajrang Dal, Vishva Hindu Parishad and Sangh Parivar, as investigators and other officials are also shining a spotlight on these and other Hindu orgainizations that advocate Hindutva. (It should be noted that the VHP has denied any involvement in the blasts, instead ascribing responsibility to "anti-national elements".)

CB, I'd really be interested in your response to this story quoted by Drum.

Charley, it reinforces my opinion that Rumsfeld should have been spending more time with his family since the end of Bush's first term. I didn't get much into Rumsfeld in my new Haditha post, but he was large and in charge of the Iraq strategy, and the highest-ranked appointee responsible for how things are going in Iraq.

mattt, if your dnainda link proves true, I'll be doing some crossing out in my post. I did say that I wasn't aware of Hindus using these terrorist tactics, so thanks for the links re them. It looks like Bajrang Dal does have a history.

dm,
Here's an example of Americans being attacked, and there're plenty more similar examples out there. No matter that 35 children were killed, the operation killed an American and wounded thirteen. How can you not call this terrorism?

Do you really think, CB, that the President was unaware of this? And Rice, who had the job of mediating between State and Defense?We're talking 2002 here . . .

Charles, two questions.

I kind of think that some of these countries are fighting the sorts of wars that Europe fought a few hundred years ago.

True, Ara, but not this week.

I think the "some" qualifier is essential for Ara's statement, as it is by no means universally applicable. I can see where Ara is coming from though, and by you saying, "True," I'm assuming you sort of can as well.

Then there's your "but not this week" clause - which I have absolutely no idea how to interpret. Could you please explain what that was about?

Second, why is it that Rumsfeld should have been retired after "the end of Bush's first term"? Why select a timeframe that appears to have nothing to do with OIF or the reconstruction and everything to do with domestic politics?

"Some of the children, who are near the end of a nationwide school vacation, said they were attracted to the neighborhood celebration by American soldiers handing out candy.

"The Americans called us. They told us: "Come here, come here,' asking us if we wanted sweets. We went beside them, then a car exploded," said 12-year-old Abdel Rahman Dawoud, lying naked in a hospital bed with shrapnel embedded all over his body."

Butbut.... I read that that was cowardly using children as human shields, since the soldiers knew that they were often targeted.

(I suppose these days you have to formally state that you don't think that is an accurate statement, but that you want to show that everything can be spun. spinned?)

And CB: You realize that Samir A. (who's possible ownership of a rifle and a gun seems to be on par with bombing innocents in your list) is our national test terrorist? First arrest didn't even make it to court. Second arrest the judge said that he had 'terrorist intentions, but they were to primitive and unformed to warrant detention and intentions cannot be punished' - he got sentenced lightly for ownership of forbidden weapons. Third arrest will be in court one of these days I think. Since they accidently found the rifle and the gun (the cellar flooded due to heavy rain...) they might have at least the ownership of forbidden weapens again - *if* they can proof they were his.

Who's = whose

I read that that was cowardly using children as human shields, since the soldiers knew that they were often targeted.

You have a strange idea of what human shields are, dutch. The soldiers weren't using the kids as human shields. Rather, it was the terrorists who timed the explosions to create the greatest possible carnage. They could've set the bombs off before the kids were in the vicinity, but they waited for them to enter the kill zone. The evil of such an act is damn near unspeakable.

I guess we'll see how the Samir A. story turns out, and whether a person gets a free pass for planning terrorist attacks.

CB, you need to learn how to read. dutchmarbel did not say that was what she thought, read the next line.

Desiring a terrorist act is different from planning a terrorist act is different from doing anything to do a terrorist act is different from doing a terrorist act.

If we were to arrest everybody in the world who has ever thought of or talked about doing something against us... Well that would be near impossible.

tnxs John. I could actually quote everything in my post that was NOT quoted by Charles to give a proper answer to his statement.

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