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July 20, 2010

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You might also call it the "lump of terrorism" fallacy: there is a fixed amount of terrorism in the world, and we can only redistribute it, not reduce it. Meanwhile, let's blow some shit up, because why not?

I recall Wayne Booth saying, in another context, the analogous argument is that since it's impossible to create a perfectly aseptic environment, you might as well perform surgery in a sewer.

You should get a Grammy for this post.

The key word is exacerbate. Should we dig and find root causes, or not? Responding to 9/11 caused a further violent response from the other side. It sounds like a typical pattern of war.

Greenwald and Martin ignore some fundamental realities: If we defeat our enemies, they will stop attacking us. But if we ignore their terrorism while continuing to fund them through oil money, they will continue to attack us. They would have us believe the opposite. If Greenwald and Martin had offered a practical alternative, I'd listen; they haven't. Bush and Obama are bungling their way through this, kind of like the way Lincoln bungled his way through the Civil War and the way US bungled many major battles in WWII.

Greenwald is trying to expand an obvious point, that the US has not been managing the situation well, into a grand theory.

Numerous US interventions in Central America in the hope of fighting Communism did not result in terrorism. One difference is culture. Islam commands its adherents to dominate and defeat non-Muslims. Compromise is only temporary.

Muslims are not just fighting the US or even the West. Muslims are at war in the Philippines, in Chechnya, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, Algeria, East Timor, Kashmir, and so on. It wasn't western intervention that caused the bombings in Bali, or Madrid, nor the mass murder in Mumbai. There are 2 causes: Trillions of dollars of oil money, and the teachings of Islam. One feeds the other. Jealousy, and animosity to freedom, are strictly second-tier, if that. Tony Blair was right when he said that was not 'concern for Iraq' that drives them to terrorism. The empowered Muslim radical preachers use it as a way of waving the bloody shirt. The driving forces are money and the Koran.

The driving forces are money and the Koran.

This is simply anti-Islamic bigotry. Theree is no reason whatever, other than wishful thinking, to suppose that Islamics are more inclined to violence than Christians, or anyone else. The history of the last thousand years or so indicates rather plainly the contrary.

AreaMan: There are 2 causes: Trillions of dollars of oil money, and the teachings of Islam.

Yeah, it's certainly true that no Christian nations have ever engaged in any attacks on civilians.

The key word is exacerbate. Should we dig and find root causes, or not?

By all means, but you're not doing that.

Responding to 9/11 caused a further violent response from the other side. It sounds like a typical pattern of war.

Huh? al-Qaeda attacked the US, so the US attacked Iraq as part of the war on al-Qaeda. And that makes sense how?

If we defeat our enemies, they will stop attacking us.

So, if we topple Saddam, he will stop attacking us. Because Saddam attacked us how many times? And now that he's defeated, there isn't any blowback from the invasion?

But if we ignore their terrorism while continuing to fund them through oil money, they will continue to attack us.

How do you propose solving the oil conundrum (pun!)?

Aside from that, what does "ignore their terrorism" mean? Who's calling for that? What did invading Iraq have to do with not ignoring al-Qaeda's terrorism?

If Greenwald and Martin had offered a practical alternative, I'd listen; they haven't.

Actually, I side with the RAND corporation, the West Point Counterterrorism Center and other counterterror experts in arguing that war is not only an inefficient means of fighting terrorism, it is often actually counterproducitve. Especially, as with Iraq, when there weren't even terrorists there in the first place!

Law enforcement and intel are still the best tools, coupled with easing points of conflict that breed radicalization. Not creating new conflicts.

Numerous US interventions in Central America in the hope of fighting Communism did not result in terrorism.

Um, what? You need to read up more on recent history in El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc. And if you include South America, check in on Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, etc.

Also, how did the Irish react to British intervention? Good Catholics, the lot of em. See, also, Sri Lanka, Israeli terrorists like Irgun, etc.

Islam commands its adherents to dominate and defeat non-Muslims. Compromise is only temporary.

You're at least as ignorant about Islam as you are about Central and South American history.

Muslims are not just fighting the US or even the West. Muslims are at war in the Philippines, in Chechnya, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, Algeria, East Timor, Kashmir, and so on.

And in each of those locales, non-Muslims are at war. Wow.

It wasn't western intervention that caused the bombings in Bali, or Madrid, nor the mass murder in Mumbai.

"Caused"? Who said that. But, yes, Madrid attackers were motivated by the Iraq invasion, and the Bali bombers as well.

Um, what? You need to read up more on recent history in El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc.

Clearly he means "no terrorism against Americans," Eric.

Sheesh...as if there were any other kind that mattered...

Yeah, must be UK. It's a Muslim thing.

Mass slaughter of innocent civilians? The Bible told me that!

I do my best to understand what we as residents or citizens of the US should expect from ourselves and others who might enter our 'borders' (if I may use that term) with a desire to make their home here. When my spouse took her oath to become a citizen, I'm almost certain it included some pledge of allegiance to the US and support of the US Constitution. If she disagrees with any particular administration's action in foreign affairs or any other area, she is free to work to change that through the electoral process.

Those who enter the US under the above auspices and then show themselves to be devoted, in fact, to something called the muslim world or a muslim country are surely not American in any traditional sense, and if they act to aid those in muslim radical organizations inflict terrorist violence on the US, they are nothing less than traitors to their adopted country.

Similar situation in Great Britain it seems. But its likely much worse there.

Those who enter the US under the above auspices and then show themselves to be devoted, in fact, to something called the muslim world or a muslim country are surely not American in any traditional sense, and if they act to aid those in muslim radical organizations inflict terrorist violence on the US, they are nothing less than traitors to their adopted country.

Why do you single out Muslims here? And what does "devoted" mean?

Would you say the same thing about US citizens that aided the IRA? If so, there are some Republican lawmakers that you might be stripping of citizenship.

Also, what if an American citizen showed him or herself to be devoted to a predominately Jewish country, like, say, Israel? Not American?

But, in general, it's not a good idea to support armed causes in far away lands. For individual citizens or the government itself - but in rare exceptions for the latter, and even rarer for the former.

And if those militant groups so supported attack Americans, then yes, that is treason.

It's just that your highfalutin rhetoric seems to gild a rather mundane point, which leads me to try to divine a deeper meaning.

Similar situation in Great Britain it seems.

Many of the radicalized young Muslims referred to in that report are, in fact, UK-born British subjects. So no, it's actually not similar to whatever it is you're referring to. Not at all.

Now, why your mind immediately jumps from "Muslim" to "foreign-born" is interesting, but not relevant to the subject of the post, so it's probably best not to go there.

(Obligatory pedantry/point-of-pride: British citizens are not subjects, and we haven't been since 1983, nor have we generally been referred to as such since 1949.)

Anyway, British-born Muslims would never have taken a pledge of allegiance unless they were in the military. We don't do loyalty pledges in the UK. We think they're kind of creepy. No offense.

Not that that really matters, since killing civilians is a universal crime. "Allegiance" seems like a red herring; Timothy McVeigh believed he was a patriot, so what?

(Obligatory pedantry/point-of-pride: British citizens are not subjects, and we haven't been since 1983, nor have we generally been referred to as such since 1949.)

Good to know...thanks, Jacob. Serves me relying on an old UB40 song as an authority...

I always like reading what Glenn Greenwald has to say, but I wish he'd dial his sarcasm back. It's become so predictable, and it's beginning to obscure his message.

Those who enter the US under the above auspices and then show themselves to be devoted, in fact, to something called the muslim world or a muslim country are surely not American in any traditional sense

There are plenty of Americans in the "traditional sense" (if native-born counts as that) that are devoted to religious communities or other countries. In fact, there are many that put god/religion over country/constitution.

Other than that, I can't disagree with anything GOB wrote, but I'm having a hard time seeing what it has to do with the discussion at hand.

I don't know how GoodOleBoy defines "American in any traditional sense". I just want to make clear that I don't give any more of a crap what HE considers "traditional American" than he gives about what I consider "traditional American". And you know what's GREAT about the Good Ole USA? I don't HAVE to give a crap about what self-styled patriots or self-appointed traditionalists think the definition of "traditional American" is. They're entitled to their opinion, just like me. They may, possibly, and for some little time yet, OUTNUMBER those of us who they consider "untraditional Americans" or "traditional unAmericans" or whatever the opposite is of what they consider themselves to be. In which case I can only cite Mark Twain quoting Satan:

"You Chicago people think you are the best people down here, whereas you are merely the most numerous."

--TP

'Why do you single out Muslims here? And what does "devoted" mean?'

The post made reference to an article discussing a report concluding that radicalized 'muslims' in Great Britain were creating unmanageable burdens on British intelligence services. Devoted is used in a sense of 'duty bound'.

'Many of the radicalized young Muslims referred to in that report are, in fact, UK-born British'

Are none of the radicalized muslims in Great Britain immigrants?

Also, what if an American citizen showed him or herself to be devoted to a predominately Jewish country, like, say, Israel? Not American?

Resulting in giving aid to Israel to be used against the US? Yes, unAmerican. Didn't we just recently send a young man to prison here for many years for precisely this?

On the IRA and McVeigh. Aid to the IRA by an American citizen resulting in violence committed against Americans. Wrong. McVeigh committed multiple homicides. He is pretty much a singular category.

If one is an immigrant or of a subsequent generation, it hardly makes a difference. A citizen of the US who overtly acts to support foreign interests in violent actions threatening US national security I would label unAmerican. I cannot say what a person acting similarly in Great Britain would be.

Maybe Jacob will help.

Are none of the radicalized muslims in Great Britain immigrants?

Yes, I'm sure some are. I still fail to see how this is relevant.

If one is an immigrant or of a subsequent generation, it hardly makes a difference.

Oh.

Whatever.

Let's see if I have understood the argument correctly:
- yes, our recent actions have radicalized people and created more terrorists,
- but there were terrorists even before that. Due to previous actions of ours (in some cases several generations back),
- Conclusion: nothing we are currently doing is making the problem worse
- Sub-conclusion: there is nothing that can be done (or not done) which will make the situation better.

Therefore, the only possible solution is obviously to wage total war on everybody in sight. Somewhere, Dr. Strangelove is smiling.

if they act to aid those in muslim radical organizations inflict terrorist violence on the US, they are nothing less than traitors to their adopted country.

Gonna go out on a limb here and say that I doubt that anyone finds this controversial. Anyone, regardless of origin, religion, etc who aids in inflicting terrorist violence on the US ought to be prosecuted to the limit of the law, including treason if possible/appliciable.

'Why do you single out Muslims here? And what does "devoted" mean?'

The post made reference to an article discussing a report concluding that radicalized 'muslims' in Great Britain were creating unmanageable burdens on British intelligence services.

OK, I can see what you're saying, but let me use a counterexample to show why people find this odd (or even alarming): if you read a newspaper report about a black man raping a white woman and said "they ought to take a black man who rapes people and castrate him". Now, you may *mean* that you feel this way about all rapists and merely mention the race of this particular rapist because he is the example that you are referring to. But it strikes some (me, at least) as very odd that you'd need to specify a religious affiliation before saying that people who commit terrorist acts ought to be punished. It suggests an animus or discriminatory subtext that I don't think you intend to transmit.

It sounds like a typical pattern of war.
Greenwald and Martin ignore some fundamental realities: If we defeat our enemies, they will stop attacking us

It is a mistake to treat social and ethnic conflict as a purely military exercise (although military operations can exist within such a conflict). This sort of thinking has only served to either perpetuate conflicts for decades (eg Northern Ireland) or led to hideous atrocities when these became the only path to "victory".\
Or, to put it another way, in a conflict such as Israel-Palestine or IRA-UDA-British, a military victory can only be a temporary setback to the ambitions of the defeated group. Apartheid can exist for a period of time, but the pot will always simmer over unless those ambitions are satisfied somehow. Or, unless the disaffected group is killed off or driven away.
So there is no "defeat our enemies". There is no Muslim country that we could attack and overrun, after which extremist Muslim groups will not continue to consider the US an enemy and act on this. Just as there were no number of IRA soldiers who could be imprisoned or shot that would permanently disabuse the Irish of their vision of a united Ireland (or, at least, their brethren in N Ireland not being treated as second-class citizens).

Muslims are at war in the Philippines, in Chechnya, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, Algeria, East Timor, Kashmir, and so on.

There are conflicts in the world involving Muslims. And conflicts (N Ireland, Sri Lanka, Columbia, Mexico (Chiapas as well as cartel violence), Tibet, Thailand, etc where Muslims didn't play a signficant role.

Furthermore, it's clear that there were nonreligious factors in many or all of these conflicts eg the conflict in Chechnya started from Russian attempts to reconquer an independent Chechnya in 1994. Kashmir is not a disputed territory because Pakistan is a Muslim state, etc.
We would hesitate to assign blame to Christianity for the Falklands conflict or the apartheid period in South Africa- there is no reason to assign blame to Islam for the fact that some world conflicts happen to involve Muslims.

If we defeat our enemies, they will stop attacking us.

Only if "our enemies" are a fixed group. If defeating our current enemies angers people who are currently neutral, we can wind up spending blood and treasure defeating out enemies only to discover we've created a whole new batch to take their place. The classic analogy is the hydra, which grows two new heads any time one is chopped off. In that case, hacking away is an unproductive strategy.

eric martin - "Would you say the same thing about US citizens that aided the IRA?"

If the IRA was blowing up US Buildings with explosives and aircraft and calling mass meetings in Ireland where they were burning our flag and waving signs that said DEATH TO AMERICA I'd think they'd need to be scrutinized with a jaundiced eye... wouldn't you?

If the IRA was blowing up US Buildings with explosives and aircraft and calling mass meetings in Ireland where they were burning our flag and waving signs that said DEATH TO AMERICA I'd think they'd need to be scrutinized with a jaundiced eye... wouldn't you?

So terrorism only counts if it's done to the US. Even our closest allies such as the British don't matter- targeting British civilians with terrorist attacks is just fine.

CW,

I appreciate your approach, but is it your conclusion that there is no cultural or religious context driving the radicalization of the young people in Great Britain that the British intelligence officer is referencing?

For TP:

Almost anyone can fit comfortably into my definition of traditional american, but an exception would be those who knowingly and purposely commit acts to support violence against Americans. Latin cartel drug lords who frequent the border between Mexico and the US and their confederates (many of whom may be US citizens and/or residents) meet this criterion. Maybe those Russian spies who pretended to be Americans would qualify. We may have lots of people in the US supporting Israel in ways that qualify.

'So terrorism only counts if it's done to the US. Even our closest allies such as the British don't matter- targeting British civilians with terrorist attacks is just fine.'

How did you get here from what has been said before in this thread?

DNFTT. Pretty please with sugar on it.

"So terrorism only counts if it's done to the US. Even our closest allies such as the British don't matter- targeting British civilians with terrorist attacks is just fine."

I'm not sure what your point is, Carleton.

Eric Martin was responding to Good Ole Boy's statement about immigrants to the US (Muslims in particular), who are within our borders, who while here aid radical Muslim organizations who want to 'inflict terrorist violence on the US.' He said they were traitors to their adopted country.

Eric Martin then asked if he would 'say the same thing about the IRA?' And I indicated that if the IRA was equivalent to Al Queda and Irish immigrants were supporting a terrorist version of the IRA bent on our destruction, we should indeed consider those immigrants traitors.


Again, what's your point? What does 'terrorism only counts if it's done to the US' have to do with the interchanges?

Jacob Davies,

"We don't do loyalty pledges in the UK. We think they're kind of creepy. No offense."

There is another creepy American tradition,--- giving your allegiance to a flag---every morning in most schools, public or private.

I absolutely despised this depraved nationalistic act.

There is another creepy American tradition

About 100 years old. The "under God" part, even more recent.

"I always like reading what Glenn Greenwald has to say, but I wish he'd dial his sarcasm back. It's become so predictable, and it's beginning to obscure his message."

Actually, the worst thing about Greenwald's writing is his overuse of needless adverbs (very, extremely, etc.). I wrote to him about it once, but he didn't respond. Why, Glenn, why?

Almost anyone can fit comfortably into my definition of traditional american, but an exception would be those who knowingly and purposely commit acts to support violence against Americans.

But that's not what you said above:

Those who enter the US under the above auspices and then show themselves to be devoted, in fact, to something called the muslim world or a muslim country are surely not American in any traditional sense

So is devotion to the "Muslim world" or a "Muslim country" another exception, or does it inevitably imply knowing and purposeful support of violence against Americans?

Can one be devoted to a different religious community or non-Muslim country and still be a "traditional American"?

I appreciate your approach, but is it your conclusion that there is no cultural or religious context driving the radicalization of the young people in Great Britain that the British intelligence officer is referencing?

My conclusion is that this is irrelevant insofar as anyone committing or assisting in terrorist acts ought to be punished to the full extent of the law. Their religious or cultural affiliation is irrelevant to determining whether they should be punished or to what extent.
Whether or not religious or cultural affiliation drives some fringe antisocial behavior: of course it does. The terrorists associated with the neonazi/Christian Identity movement and the milita movements have often practiced a brand of Christianity. However relevant that might be to identifying and neutralizing potential terrorists though, I don't see how it is relevant to the fact of their criminal activity or the punishment that they ought to receive.
Really, this is basic civil libertarianism to me: one is not singled out for particular punishment or prosecution based on religion, race or culture.

How did you get here from what has been said before in this thread?

I cited the comment that led me there; it wasn't directed at you.

Again, what's your point? What does 'terrorism only counts if it's done to the US' have to do with the interchanges?

The entire point of an analogy is that it is not the actual event or item being discussed. It is different. Comparing it allows us to understand the nature of the similarities between the two events.
Thus, Eric brings up the IRA. The IRA is not exactly like Al Qaeda. Thus, it's an analogy.
So, you either didn't understand that it was an analogy, and tried to figure out why someone would bring up something that wasn't idential to the case at hand, or you think that the analogy breaks down ie killing Americans is qualitatively different than killing British citizens.
I thought it was the second case, but apparently it's the first. So: criticizing an analogy for not being identical is not a criticism of the analogy's fitness to probe significant questions about the matter at hand.

Numerous US interventions in Central America in the hope of fighting Communism did not result in terrorism.

Somewhat OT, my apologies for that, but in fact numerous US interventions in Central American were in the form of terrorism.

Don't know why the Central American nations haven't responded by blowing us up in our beds as we sleep, perhaps they were just happy to see the back of us. To the degree that they have.

It's pretty freaking easy to see why Muslims would have a bone to pick with the US. I don't know why some of them have resorted to terrorism rather than other means to assert their preferences, nor do I know why a great deal more of them have *not* resorted to terrorism to assert their preferences.

How many jihadis are there in the world? If we divide that number by a billion and a half, what proportion of the Muslims in the world are interested in killing anybody whatsoever to advance a political Islamic agenda?

One in a hundred?
One in a thousand?

If it's one in ten thousand, I'd be surprised.

One in ten thousand Americans is 30,000 people. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say we have that many heavily armed nutjobs in our very own country. They just haven't been subject to anything sufficiently enraging to light their particular fuses yet.

I don't see that there's anything magic about Islam that makes people act violently. It happens all the time, all over the world, for all kinds of reasons.

There are just a lot of Muslims in the world, and we have been doing a very good job of pissing them off for a very long time.

I'll be happy to see guys like OBL in hell, but the one thing I can't say is that there's any mystery to why guys like him are around.

To BooThisMan:

I know the tradition here is to parse words to great precision. Eric asked me what devoted meant and I said duty bound, if I recall. So, if we have someone assuming the mantle as an American who is duty bound politically to another country or another cause that prevents that person from supporting the US, then that likely will fail my definition of American. I would give them a different label.

It's pretty freaking easy to see why Muslims would have a bone to pick with the US.

To expand this a bit - if you replace "the US" with "the West" in this sentence, I'd say it's even easier to see why Muslims might be resentful.

And I doubt the distinction between "the West" and "the US" is that clear, either in their perception or in reality.

But that's not what you said above: [...]

So is devotion to the "Muslim world" or a "Muslim country" another exception, or does it inevitably imply knowing and purposeful support of violence against Americans?

Can one be devoted to a different religious community or non-Muslim country and still be a "traditional American"?

Exactly. That is what stuck in my craw.

I appreciate your approach, but is it your conclusion that there is no cultural or religious context driving the radicalization of the young people in Great Britain that the British intelligence officer is referencing?

Was the IRA a movement devoid of cultural or religious context in part of the UK? If not, what does that tell us about Christianity?

"So, you either didn't understand that it was an analogy, and tried to figure out why someone would bring up something that wasn't idential to the case at hand, or you think that the analogy breaks down ie killing Americans is qualitatively different than killing British citizens."


Carleton, I still don't know what you're talking about. I don't think you do either. Nowhere in the specific comment from Eric Martin I referred to does he mention anything about 'killing British citizens' - that may be upthread, but it wasn't in the comment I referenced in his question to GOB.

And Eric Martin wasn't making an analogy, he was using a figure of speech called comparison, a rhetorical strategy in which a question is asked or a statement made to examine similarities and/or differences between two sets of ideas or things or persons, etc.

And an analogy, to correct your imperfect understanding of its use, is a figure of language whose purpose is to express a set of like relationships, among or between TWO sets of terms. The two sets of terms I was responding to were immigrant Muslim terrorist supporters and the IRA.

In other words, if you were making an analogy, it wasn't relevant to the comparison.

someotherdude: "There is another creepy American tradition,--- giving your allegiance to a flag---every morning in most schools, public or private.

I absolutely despised this depraved nationalistic act."

Would you have the same feeling if the pledge was recited thusly:

I pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation (optional: under God), indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

'Exactly. That is what stuck in my craw'

'Was the IRA a movement devoid of cultural or religious context in part of the UK? If not, what does that tell us about Christianity?'

I searched all through this thread for my defense of the IRA's terrorist acts against British citizens to no avail. I also found no references by me to Christianity. I'm not sure what's up here!

Carleton, I still don't know what you're talking about. I don't think you do either. Nowhere in the specific comment from Eric Martin I referred to does he mention anything about 'killing British citizens' - that may be upthread, but it wasn't in the comment I referenced in his question to GOB.

Perhaps you should try reading a book on subjects with which you are profoundly ignorant, rather than sharing your ignorance with others? Or must Eric reproduce the entire wikipedia article on the IRA before information about that organization can be used in a discussion?

'Was the IRA a movement devoid of cultural or religious context in part of the UK? If not, what does that tell us about Christianity?'

I searched all through this thread for my defense of the IRA's terrorist acts against British citizens to no avail. I also found no references by me to Christianity. I'm not sure what's up here!

It's straightfoward. You asserted that we have to understand terroristst from the Middle East in terms of their "cultural and religious context". Do we not also need such context to understand the IRA or the UDF? Is Christianity implicated?
There was no implication that you defended the IRA. Just that you were viewing one terrorist group through a religious lens while not doing the same with another.

'There was no implication that you defended the IRA. Just that you were viewing one terrorist group through a religious lens while not doing the same with another.'

The latter conclusion is not justified from any of my comments. I view the IRA the same and I do conclude there is a religious and cultural driving force there.

Point of fact, it really makes no difference what underlying force provides the motivation. For immigrants who fit these circumstances, they have gained residence or citizenship under false pretenses. For those born in the US or Great Britain and not able to restrain whatever urges them to betray the country of their birth, my sense of western honor would say that they should renounce their birth country and openly join forces with the cause that drives them or, forsaking that, bear whatever label the honorable inhabitants of their country give them. If they don't have such a sense of honor, then they are probably in the wrong country after all.

'There was no implication that you defended the IRA. Just that you were viewing one terrorist group through a religious lens while not doing the same with another.'

The latter conclusion is not justified from any of my comments. I view the IRA the same and I do conclude there is a religious and cultural driving force there.

You conclude that Christianity is implicated in the terrorism of the IRA and the UDF? That Christianity was a "driving force"? Just to be clear.

'You conclude that Christianity is implicated in the terrorism of the IRA and the UDF? That Christianity was a "driving force"? Just to be clear.'

I'm no expert on this conflict, even though I have significant family history involving the Ulster Plantation. Before my Ulster-Scot ancestor migrated to Pennsylvania in the mid-1720's, his father and 2 previous generations had been there for a century or more. The original migrant from Scotland was a officer in some sort of military unit. My understanding of the creation of the Ulster Plantation after the flight of the Earls was a part of James I plan to establish a buffer zone to contain the wild Irish Roman Catholic population. I guess it was hard to end what James initiated.

And an analogy, to correct your imperfect understanding of its use, is a figure of language whose purpose is to express a set of like relationships, among or between TWO sets of terms.

If you're basing your argument on GOB's hypothetical dissimilarity in treatment of the two groups, that's basically nonsensical (note the subjunctive mood of Eric's "would you say the same thing"). Eric's argument implies a similarity between the two groups and that the similarity should be extended to the hypothetical treatment suggested by GOB to remain consistent. And, as in any analogy, there is no requirement for the two objects being compared to be alike in all respects, merely the one under examination- if I say "the heart is like a car's fuel pump, but it is made of muscle", the analogy is complete without requiring additional congruence, and it is not invalidated by the acknowledged existence of dissimilarities. Here, both are organizations that practice terror against civilians, thus the analogy.
Thus, my initial confusion that you were objecting on the grounds that this was not a true basis of similarity (ie that killing British civilians is not similar enough to killing US civilians to justify the analogy).
Of course, as it is it's still unclear what your objection is to the original hypothetical, other than a lack of perfect congruence with GOB's original argument. So Im back to square one- thinking that you don't understand how analogies are supposed to work in an argument.
The logical next step of the argument would be for GOB to either accept the analogy and suggest similar treatment for both groups, or refine his thinking and explain some critical dissimilarity that would invalidate the analogy for the purposes of determining how the two groups should be treated. Not to merely say "these are not the same thing!", since that fails to move the argument forward at all. Here, GOB accepts the analogy, and that the same logic he applied to Muslim extremists can be applied to their analogue, the IRA (or UDF). The debate moves forward.

Not sure why you emphasize "two" here, either; normally this would indicate the point of difference between the two things being compared, but you also refer to "two" in defining "comparison".
To wit
"comparison, a rhetorical strategy in which ... a statement [is] made to examine similarities... between two sets of ideas....
"analogy... express[es] a set of like relationships, among or between TWO sets of terms."
See, the emphasis should be showing how the two things are different. Try writing it like you'd say it out loud, with the caps where you'd put a verbal emphasis. If you find yourself stressing the "two" out loud, I think you need to refine your thinking a little more before hitting post.
Rather than googling rhetorical terms, try concentrating on producing a clear statement that can be debated- Im tired of guessing at what you might mean. I find that it's the muddy thinkers who cloak their insecurity with vagueness.

GOB,
Im not sure what that last answer meant. Im certainly not asking you to be an expert on everything.
But it seems to me that you've made a general proposition about religion, culture, and conflict. And while certainly one cannot understand the history of Ireland without understanding Christianity and its role there, I don't think it's reasonable to call Christianity a "driving force" in the violence in Ireland- that is, I dont think there's anything particularly about Christianity or its doctrines that caused or fueled the conflict. As in Kashmir, sectarian differences exacerbate conflict, but there is nothing essentially Hindu or Muslim in having a territorial dispute, nor is there afaik any religious significance to the area in dispute.
Or, consider the conflict between the US and Japan during WWII- while both Christianity and Shinto may have played some role in terms of cultural viewpoints, it was not a Christianity-Shinto conflict, nor was it significantly driven by either religion.

To be clear, I think there can be explicitly religious conflicts, ones that find their roots in one religion or another (eg Israeli-Palestinian conflicts over religious sites, the Crusades, Muhammad's conquest of the Arabian Peninsula). But I don't think it's reasonable to assign blame or causality to a religion that happens to coexist with a conflict.

What CW said.

Wow. I don't know if I've ever seen such a good post generate such a sh*tty, pointless comment thread. And I say that with the full admission that I nibbled at the bait.

For what it's worth: really good post, Eric.

'I don't think it's reasonable to call Christianity a "driving force" in the violence in Ireland- that is, I dont think there's anything particularly about Christianity or its doctrines that caused or fueled the conflict'

I accept your proposition and retract my use of 'driving force' as too strong to describe the 'connection' between religion and the actions of terrorists in the groups described as radicalized British Muslims or IRA.

My use of that terminology gives credence to the notion that religious doctrine causes the violence. That is not what I think.

The religious 'connection' is introduced by those responsible for the violent actions and, consequently, has no greater validity than any other 'justifications' used.


Agreed GOB, and well said.

It should be noted that the vast majority of terrorists are woefully ignorant about Islam. Actually, this ignornace makes them particularly vulnerable to the siren call of radical preachers who more or less bamboozle young, wayward individuals with the "narrative."

That said, there is also terrorism that is directly reactionary to occupation itself. But, again, this has little to do with Islam.

Actually, this ignornace makes them particularly vulnerable to the siren call of radical preachers who more or less bamboozle young, wayward individuals with the "narrative."

careful, Marty might think you are talking about him...

Would you have the same feeling if the pledge was recited thusly:

I pledge allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation (optional: under God), indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Posted by: Bronx Bomber | July 20, 2010 at 11:17 PM

It’s a funny thing…I attended a private Protestant school (and later the LAUSD), and we were constantly reminded how the Reformation saved us from Roman Catholic mysticism and mindless ritual. That Protestant faith liberated us from rote acts of faith…these sermons would usually come after a pledge of allegiance to the US flag, the Christian flag and then an allegiance to the Bible.

I suspect a mindless pledge of allegiance, 10 times a week, to a Constitution would still make me feel like a Papist.


I suspect Islam is providing the same anti-colonial language Arab nationalism and Marxism used to,…just because the Cold War ended, it didn’t mean the exploitation and mass death by Empires, ended.

Islam has become “racialized” by the most powerful Empire on Earth. (Remember, prior to the biological rationalizations of racial categories, regional/geographic rationalizations were used, and are back) Judeo-Christian (a very new term, by the way) has come to stand-in for Western, European and US-Israel relations, while “Arab” and “Islam” and “middle-east” have become synonymous, by the citizens of the most powerful Empire on earth.

Every dog has its day.if you make hard. you will success.
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Every dog has its day.if you make hard. you will success.

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