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February 19, 2008

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"The religious parties have never been very popular in Pakistan."

I posted a link here about this a week or so ago. Here's another, from February 10th:

[...] According to the poll results only 24 percent of Pakistanis approved of bin Laden when the survey was conducted last month, compared with 46 percent during a similar survey in August.

Backing for al-Qaida, whose senior leaders are believed to be hiding along the Pakistani-Afghan border, fell to 18 percent from 33 percent.

Support for the Taliban, whose Pakistani offshoots have seized control of much of the lawless border area and have been engaged in a growing war against security forces, dropped by half to 19 percent from 38 percent, the results said.

Majority want Musharraf to quit
Also, in a sharp rebuke to Musharraf — who seized power in a 1999 coup and whose standing has slumped since he tried to fire Pakistan's chief justice last March — 70 percent of voters think he should quit immediately.

[...]

Only one percent of Pakistani voters would cast their ballots in favor of al-Qaida if it was running in parliamentary elections, the survey results said, adding that the Taliban would get 3 percent.

But from the hyperventilating in many quarters, we're all supposed to be quaking in our boots because every Muslim believes in the most bloodthirsty exhorations in the Koran, just like every Jew believes in slaughtering villagers and stoning their daughters, and every Christian equally obeys every word of Deuteronomy.

Oy, vey.

Incidentally, the reason Obama is winning is because of his support from Obama.

Japan.

Perhaps the strong majorities will reform Islam.

If they promise to delete 4:89, 9:5, 9:29, and most importantly 33:21, I’ll send a check.

"If they promise to delete 4:89, 9:5, 9:29, and most importantly 33:21, I’ll send a check."

Bill, you never respond to questions on this topic: why do you think it's necessary for Muslims to delete those bits of the Koran, but not for Christians and Jews to delete the murderous injunction bits from the Torah and New Testament? We have Christian warriors like General Jerry Boykin who have run around declaring that their God is the biggest God, and that's who we're fighting for, no different than anyone else declaring they're killing in the name of their righteous god, and we have no lack of Christian murderers and rapists, but eventually both Judaism and Christianity largely left behind paying attention to all those commands by God to slaughter this folk, and that folk, and this tribe, and those kids, and so on.

The overwhelming majority of Muslims are no more inclined to going off to war than are the majority of Christians, which is to say a noticeable number, but still a minority, and the overwhelming majority of Muslims are as peaceable folks most interested in caring for their family, and improving their lot in life, as most people around the world.

So why assume Islam is uniquely less able to slowly evolve, or that extremist murderous Islam represents some sort of existential threat, rather than a troublesome, but manageable, problem?

We have an awful lot more people dying of car accidents and falls in bathtubs, and of heart attacks and cancer, and some hundred other causes, in the U.S., and even around the world, than in terrorist incidents, after all, and I don't see any reason to think that that ratio is suddenly going to jump up a hundred times or more. Do you?

And, by the way, a quote from the Koran will not be a relevant response. Not that you'd ever think it would be.

"Incidentally, the reason Obama is winning is because of his support for Obama."

Next up for those hoping to stop the Obama ascendancy: warnings about the yellow peril.

On Pakistan: These are all good signs. I don't so much hyperventilate about Pakistan's difficulties, but I avert my eyes from the their complicated nature and dread how they might be disentangled.

Who will keep the military, including its religious elements, in the barracks? No one with the last name of Bhutto has been successful.

"I hope this means that we won't hear any more hyperventilating about the possibility that jihadis could sweep to power in Pakistan at any minute if we don't keep supporting dictators."

Do you seriously expect the administration's defenders to change their arguments based on facts?

I hope this means that we won't hear any more hyperventilating about the possibility that jihadis could sweep to power in Pakistan at any minute if we don't keep supporting dictators.

Why on earth would empirical evidence change narratives our media stars have invested so much hard work in developing?

"Who will keep the military, including its religious elements, in the barracks? No one with the last name of Bhutto has been successful."

Luckily, they've run out of those, anyway.

Come on Gary, the Christian bloody bits are teh awesome. Who couldn't do with a bit more on the "packs of children get eaten by bears for harassing an old coot" front? similarly, who can't get behind the "offer your virgin daughters to the angry mob so they will stop beating on the doors" line of thought?

John: It's hard to see how the disentangling happens. But there are interesting noises about the military pulling back from some of its more far-flung commercial enterprises, and getting the military out of the economy would be a very good start. It would certainly help the economy.

"I hope this means that we won't hear any more hyperventilating about the possibility that jihadis could sweep to power in Pakistan at any minute if we don't keep supporting dictators."

I think, hilzoy, that the salient issue in Pakistan isn't going to be (and really, never was) the specter of "Jihadis sweeping to power", but rather the level of cooperation (especially military) that the Pakistani government provides to US in fighting said jihadis.

Which cooperation, AFAICT, is generally scarcely more popular in Pakistan than radical Islamism. Whatever the final outcome of the elections will be in terms of setting the direction of Pakistani policy, it's certainly going to be NOT what the Bush Administration would prefer.

Another triumph of GWOT diplomacy....

Bill,

The religious wars of Europe, bloody battles between Christian tribes, were awful.

And then the way certain "literalists" interpret rape is just as disgusting.

Rape In The Bible

They attacked Midian just as the LORD had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. All five of the Midianite kings – Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba – died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. Then the Israelite army captured the Midianite women and children and seized their cattle and flocks and all their wealth as plunder. They burned all the towns and villages where the Midianites had lived. After they had gathered the plunder and captives, both people and animals, they brought them all to Moses and Eleazar the priest, and to the whole community of Israel, which was camped on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River, across from Jericho.

Moses, Eleazar the priest, and all the leaders of the people went to meet them outside the camp. But Moses was furious with all the military commanders who had returned from the battle. "Why have you let all the women live?" he demanded. "These are the very ones who followed Balaam's advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the LORD at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the LORD's people. Now kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves.

I think the site can be a bit reductive, however it certainly questions traditional understanding of the "Loving God."

It's rather noteworthy that, contrary to widespread speculation, Musharraf apparently did not try to steal the election.

Maybe he realized that to do so would result in turmoil for his country, and he decided that he loved his country more than he loved power.

:chinscratch:

I don’t go to church Gary.

33:21 is the worst is because it directs all Muslims to be like Mohammed. Mohammed was a bad person by my reading because he directed his followers to either convert, subjugate or kill those who did not agree with him. There has been no reform to my knowledge of his teachings in 1400 years.

Jesus Christ, by my reading, was a good person. ‘He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.’ I believe that there have been Christian reforms through the years. And if Christians were spreading their ideology through violence (Kosovo, northwest Pakistan, Thailand, on and on), I would support deleting those sections of the Old Testament that gave them the impression that their actions were sanctioned by God.

I’ll defer to a gay porn-star who makes a better case than me:

http://daily.stanford.edu/article/2008/2/15/opedRacismAndIntoleranceDisappointingAtALiberalUniversity

Thoughts with the people of Pakistan.

Me: "And, by the way, a quote from the Koran will not be a relevant response."

Bill responds: "33:21 is the worst is because...."

Either Bill can't read, or I dunno what. I'm thinking robot.

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