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January 29, 2010

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A man whose family's vast wealth is owed to the enormous income reaped by the Saudi royals from oil of all things.

Remember to tell 'em Osama sent you!

Call your member of congress today and demand action on climate change.

No! That's just what OBL wants you to do!

Fox is going to jump all over this and say that addressing climate change is appeasing bin laden; that is how incredibly stupid some of the dialogue in America has gotten, and how manipulative some of our rhetoric has become in America today. It also shows part of the big problem with Fox posing as a news station.

One of the intensely depressing things about bin Laden & his ilk is that some (only some) of their underlying critiques would have some moral force if they weren't wrapped up in apocalyptic religious fundamentalism and their response was not mass violence against civilians.

In using violence against civilians in particular they do enormous harm to the actual standing of their causes, just as the bombing campaigns of the Provisional IRA did great damage to the (at least in part) reasonable grievances of Northern Irish Republicans.

Anyway in this case I doubt there are many people stupid enough to worry about what bin Laden says, or at least, that haven't already completely lost their minds.

I enjoyed Obama's call to create a new energy paradigm "even if you don't believe in climate change because the rest of the world does" (paraphrasing). At least it's a good economic strategy even for flat earthers.

"Anyway in this case I doubt there are many people stupid enough to worry about what bin Laden says, or at least, that haven't already completely lost their minds."

That about sums it up: I don't have enough insight into bin Laden's thinking to know whether he wants us to take global warming seriously enough to destroy our economy, or thinks the rest of the world takes it seriously enough to destroy our reputation, but I know that, either way, he means us ill.

One of the intensely depressing things about bin Laden & his ilk is that some (only some) of their underlying critiques would have some moral force if they weren't wrapped up in apocalyptic religious fundamentalism and their response was not mass violence against civilians.

Is Al Queda's religious ideology particularly apocalyptic?

Beyond that, I'm not sure I find the use of mass violence against civilians to be sufficient to drain otherwise correct claims of moral force. I mean, the US killed a great deal more civilians than Al Queda ever did, so does that mean that its critiques of the Iranian government lack moral force? I like to think that correct claims remain correct no matter who makes them....

I'm not an expert in bin Laden but what I know about his ideas for a Middle Eastern caliphate (note - not a global caliphate as frequently claimed) sound pretty apocalyptic to me, and his treatment of Israel certainly is.

I don't think you can distinguish certain types of claims from those who make them. For instance, the question of whether US troops in Saudi Arabia are an affront is essentially only important in the sense that someone thinks it's an affront. There's nothing innately wrong with the US having a military base in a friendly foreign country. If a significant number of people take religious offense to it, that's something to take account of; on the other hand, if the majority of people most visibly that case are engaged in violence targeting civilians their moral standing and that of their claims is going to be greatly diminished.

As for the US, it certainly does undermine our moral standing to go to war and inevitably end up killing civilians, but I don't have a problem drawing a simple distinction between the targeting of the US, which tries pretty hard to distinguish combatants and non-combatants, and the targeting of Al Qaeda, that has deliberately chosen mass killing of non-combatants over attacks on combatants. And, further, AQ conditions an end to that violence on demands that are literally impossible, which further undermines any claim to attention.

I don't think you can distinguish certain types of claims from those who make them.

I don't understand. I didn't find AQ's arguments about US troops in SA particularly powerful, but that had nothing to do with the fact that AQ was making them. If AQ criticized an Israeli settler who shot an eight year old girl in the back of the head, would that be the sort of claim that can't be distinguished from its maker? Because those are the sorts of claims that I can imagine AQ making that would have moral force.

I don't have a problem drawing a simple distinction between the targeting of the US, which tries pretty hard to distinguish combatants and non-combatants, and the targeting of Al Qaeda, that has deliberately chosen mass killing of non-combatants over attacks on combatants.

The US started a war over nothing that ended up killing a million people. Not so much as an apology was offered let alone the kind of formal payment we demand from far lesser aggressors. Is there a significant moral difference between killing innocent civilians on purpose and killing lots more innocent civilians because you just don't care enough about human life to avoid making pointless invasions? I guess there's some academic difference, but it doesn't amount to much in practice. After all, most of the million dead Iraqis probably found their deaths to be no less random than your average 9/11 victim.

And, further, AQ conditions an end to that violence on demands that are literally impossible, which further undermines any claim to attention.

Indeed, I suppose that we might not have killed any of those Iraqis if only they had definitively proven the non-existence of their nuclear weapons. Given the impossibility of proving a negative, I'm not sure I see a meaningful distinction here....

"I don't think you can distinguish certain types of claims from those who make them.'

Yes. Take Hitler and the benefits of vegetarianism for example. I always had a sneaking suspicion there was something "non-human" (sic) about not eating meat. Now I know.

would that be the sort of claim that can't be distinguished from its maker?

No. But they're not the only - or even the loudest - group protesting that kind of Israeli action.

On the original US invasion of Iraq you're absolutely right about the impossible demands, and I have a hard time defending the distinction I made earlier when we have to include numbers as well as intent. Unlike AQ the US has the ability to learn and repent, but then I've been pretty pessimistic that that's actually going to happen right away; my major hope for the future of US moral standing is that so many other young people opposed the war, and so demographics will drive a less aggressive policy.

If climate change would have progressed as far in 1941 as today (or in 25 years), Hitler would have steamrolled Russia. So, if Hitler would have known about climate change, he would have supported it. Should you support something that would have helped Hitler just to spite Bin Laden?
OK, I know, this would have meant destroying the Soviet Union, so a good deal of USians would see it as a good thing.
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Indeed the RW will make as much hay of this as possible. The only thing that could cause some restraint (unlikley though) is that reminding people of Bin Laden could lead to reminding them also that Chain-Eye/Bush failed to catch him miserably.
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Hm, is Sarah Palin secretly praying that the Bearded One will say bad things about her come election season?

Actually, it's a pretty clever ploy. If/when America takes action on climate change, bin Laden can claim that it only happened because of his efforts.

Whether anybody will actually believe him (or even pay any attention) is, of course, another story.

Coming Up next from ObL News: "Eat your vegetables!"

Turbulence is right.

I should leave it at that -- but that would be immoral. Sure, plenty of young people opposed that war, but the next time a similar misbegotten war comes around, the United States can butcher 2 million people and those same young people's delicate moral sensibilities will be bought off by tax cuts, no cuts to defense spending, and blocking any kind of healthcare reform, because letting Americans die from a lack of healthcare will allow us to start paying off the effing deficit.

Further, if global warming is the lethal threat it probably is (how should I know?), I expect James Inhofe to prevent the U.S. from taking any ameliorative measures whatsoever, even as tens of millions of people die and become homeless around the world die.

Give me a gun (all of those guns conservatives circle-jerk with, not including hunting, must have some use) and two bullets and stand Inhofe and bin Laden up against a wall -- who should get the first bullet?

Rest assured, both bullets will be used, but will be more dangerous in that case?

Starting last Dec 1 I joined the ranks of those exploring Climategate. I never saw the same impetus elsewhere to explore it as foreign policy, though.
http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2007/sci_techs/3423init_warming_hoax.html
This is a wild connection...that actually plays to the Axis of Evil consisting of nations which have signed on to an undertaking to reassure neighbours they are not up to evil with nuclear energy...unlike their biggest critics on the UN Security Council...holders of WMD overkill demonizing those opposed to nuclear proliferation : signatories trying to live up to the undertaking made to many nations despite extreme penalties : No Good Deed Goes Unpunished !
http://opitslinkfest.blogspot.com/2009/12/4-dec-following-trail-climate-fraud-and.html
http://opitslinkfest.blogspot.com/2009/12/20-dec-mission-in-afghanistanetc.html

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