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November 27, 2004

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Important to note: the DSB is not the Defense Department.

Longtime readers may recall that I feel strongly that, convenient as it may seem, calling the "war on terror" the "new Cold War" reflects sloppy and wishful thinking...

Back to the abbreviation "?o?", I fear...

Simply, there is none - the United States today is without a working channel of communication to the world of Muslims and of Islam.

But the reason the US today has no credibility is not only because - there is no working channel of communication to "the world of Muslims and of Islam" but because the Bush administration has effectively trashed any possibility that Muslims worldwide might look at US policies and conclude "Well, their heart is in the right place".

I took yet another look at the invasion of Iraq not long ago, because I rather thought - and a detailed and not particularly difficult examination proved me right - that every single public reason the Bush administration had given for invading Iraq had since been proved to be a lie: not a mistake, not a confusion, not a mistatement, not thoughtlessness - but, plain and simple: they weren't telling the truth, and they knew it.

Besides this, what you might call the "Boykin problem" - the fact that the Bush administration saw no particular reason to sack Boykin for making public bigoted comments about Islam - is small beer.

Even if the US had the best of channels open to talk with Muslims - even if there were a couple of Muslims as highly placed in Bush's trust as (for example) Condi Rice is and Colin Powell was - it's the Bush administration's actions that make them look untrustworthy and unreliable, and that couldn't be cured by having better channels: with a national media heavily biased towards them, in their own country, Bush and Co only succeeded in convincing half of it.

A change in rhetoric isn't going to help. Even sacking Boykin probably isn't going to help by the time (though it couldn't hurt). A change in administration combined with a major policy change and a change in rhetoric might help - but that's out of reach till 2009.

the DSB is not the Defense Department.

Granted, but they're acknowledging the contents of the report and saying things like


Larry Di Rita, the Pentagon spokesman, said the report had elevated the debate within the Defense Department, but he said no formal decisions had been made about reorganizing how the Pentagon and military communicate.

"We're wrestling with this," Mr. Di Rita said.

At least they're not pretending it's not a problem.

i suspect they're "wrestling" with how to spin it so that it better matches the Message of the Day.

Important to note: the DSB is not the Defense Department.

True, but there's an awfully big however here.

I really believe that the root of Bush's policy and the root of his support from voters is religious prejudice. It's hard to prove bcause no one every says (except that crazy general) overtly bigotted things, but the very idea that millions of Islamic people are dying to throw off centuries of culture to become Just Like Us is arrogant and ignorant. Yes there are WEsternized Moslems. Yes there are people who would like to cherrypick our cultural institutions and adapt them to meet their own needs. yes there is opposition to fundamentalist extremism. But our arrogant bull-in-the-china-shop behavior has undercut all of those people. many Americans are totally blind to the possibility that Islamic people might like their values, rituals, social structures and norms and might only want to use those aspects of our culture which will help them achieve their agendas, not ours.
This obscene war is too much like the Crusades.
Bythe way, I don't know much about the MIddle Est so I hae been trying t educate myself. i read Reading Lolita in Teheran and I just finished The Nineth Part of Desire. I have also read Karen Armstrong's books on religion, which include extensive sections on Islam. Can anyone recommend more books to me? I would appreciate it.

Can anyone recommend more books to me?

You can look here for books about women/men in islam

Can anyone recommend more books to me?

You can look here for books about women/men in islam

oeps, that should be here.

I recommend The Price of Honour, by Jan Goodwin, a British journalist who has worked in several Islamic countries: published in 1994, but still useful for its insights.

wonkie believes "...that the root of Bush's policy and the root of his support from voters is religious prejudice."

While prejudice abounds, your belief is groundless.

And that "...our arrogant bull-in-the-china-shop behavior has undercut all of those people. many (sic)Americans are totally blind to the possibility that Islamic people might like their values, rituals, social structures and norms and might only want to use those aspects of our culture which will help them achieve their agendas, not ours."

Probably more like bull-in-the-outhouse behavior. And actually, most Americans are not blind at all. Most probably don't know that much about Islamic values and so forth, but figure what the Iraqi people were experiencing under Sadaam was none of the above. They now have choices they could not have imagined before, and will likely choose as you suggest, at least where Islam comes into play in Iraq.

"This obscene war is too much like the Crusades."

Well, it is and it isn't.

And it's interesting that you desire to read up on Islam to educate yourself. If your going to 'frame' your new found knowledge within your narrow preconceived notions about what is currently transpiring in world events, it'll be a complete waste of time.

This not Viet Nam, it is not the Cold War and it is certainly not the Crusades. It is today's struggle against a heinous enemy that recognizes nothing decent and respects no life anywhere, evidently not even their own. They must be drawn out and destroyed - now.

It is today's struggle against a heinous enemy that recognizes nothing decent and respects no life anywhere, evidently not even their own. They must be drawn out and destroyed - now.

Agreed. Perhaps you could then explain why we chose to invade Iraq as opposed to attacking this heinous enemy?

Jadegold: Perhaps you could then explain why we chose to invade Iraq as opposed to attacking this heinous enemy?

And, while we're on the topic, why all the reasons Bush & Co gave for invading Iraq have since been proven to be lies?

While prejudice abounds, your belief is groundless.

Hardly groundless. Lt. Gen. William Boykin is still employed by the Bush administration. Good grounds to believe that Boykin's openly-expressed prejudice against Islam is supported by the Bush administration.

Wonkie

many Americans are totally blind to the possibility that Islamic people might like their values, rituals, social structures and norms and might only want to use those aspects of our culture which will help them achieve their agendas, not ours.

Blogbudsman

And actually, most Americans are not blind at all. Most probably don't know that much about Islamic values and so forth...

If they don't know about something, they are probably blind to it, metaphorically speaking.

I don't think wonkie's tone is all that helpful, but he did clearly state that this was his/her belief. Since Saddam led a secular state that made a point of persecuting believers of Shi'a Islam, and that 80% of the Muslim population of Iraq are Shiites, it would stand to reason that those people would have been the most logical to turn to in rebuilding the state. If you _believe_ that the Bush administration were rebuffed by the Shi'a and were forced to go it alone, I hope you could provide some evidence. If you think that a Shi'a run government is inimical to the notion of democracy, as I think you seem to hint at in your last paragraph, you should state that. But until you produce some facts, this is simply wonkie's belief versus yours and you are making a pre-emptory challenge of anything s/he says in the future. There is nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't get us any closer to any understanding. If we knew that you felt that Shi'a Muslim believers were not capable of democracy, I think we could understand your position better.

Check out The Bookseller of Kabul. An interesting view of an Afghani family post Taliban from a woman who lived with them for months.

lj, I guess I'm drawing a blind line between can't see and not looking. One casts dispersions and the other recognizes the nature of the beast.

I've been throwing hissy fits lately when it's suggested that we are 'crusading' our style of democracy, which we struggle ourselves to define, other than we submit it's mostly good for most of us. When we removed Saddaam from power we left a void. We're responsible to a large degree with how that void is filled. Introducing Iraq to free election politics, with all it's blemishes, is an opportunity we'd be remiss in avoiding.

That part's easy for me. The rest is harder. Give me some time to escape my stream of consciousness and see if I can develop the argument you seek.

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