katching!

31 Jul, '07

I’m not going to bother to write too much about this as it happens again and again and they never learn, or maybe they actually do and it is the price they have to pay in order to keep their seats. Proof really that the US President and his whole government enchilada are simply the best salesmen and women the world has ever known.

We give them oil at preferred rates, they allow us to buy their weapons which we can’t use but are very adept at obsoleting before we even learn they are actually in our stores and someone (or more) keeps a fat commission – which is a wholly legitimate business practice of course.

This sales cycle this time has been aided and abetted by our dear beloved big neighbour to the East with dickheads like Shariatmadari fanning the flames and the pipers shriek and point their fingers across the swamp dancing frantically about like lunatics: “see they want to take us over, we have to protect ourselves from those Safawi turbaned mad men!” Completely forgetting that the best way to solve perceived problems with neighbours is discussion and engagement, not buying more useless weapons which will undoubtedly escalate mistrust and lead to an arms race the only winners of which are the arms manufacturers.

“Yeah,” they say, “look they are supporting Hamas, Hizbollah, Nahr Al-Bared, Al-Qaeda, and more that we don’t know about. They want to topple our governments, we have to prepare for them attacking us!”

You fools! They don’t have to attack us. They are not the danger. The real danger is your geriatric autocratic non-participatory and exclusionary rule!

What “they” might to do is just egg our people on by simply (and ironically) pointing out that we should demand that our regimes be made more democratic. Come on admit it, the prospect makes you shake in your Jesus boots, doesn’t it? Well, get used to it guys because inclusion and sharing power are the only factors that will allow your tenuous rule to last.

So what are we to do? Beg the Americans to arm us to the teeth, completely and docilely acquiescing to their requests, or should we think for a change and apply logic to our relationships, or should just plonk down our and future generations much needed funds to buy weapons of no use? That’s always the easiest well trusted option isn’t it? Throw money at a problem and hope that it will go away; if it doesn’t, just throw more money at it.

Shouldn’t that money be used for infrastructural projects, for education and health, save it for the future generations who will not enjoy the benefits of the oil dollar?

Nah, throw it at Mr. Bush and Co. and beg like dogs with tongues lolling about, paws up, waiting for that absent minded scratch on the head and the occasional pat with the soothing growl: “good boy, down, stay!”

Why is it so difficult for grown men – those we choose to call “our leaders” – to engage, sit around a table with a genuine will to solve problems rather than exacerbate them? Is it too difficult to comprehend that discussing regional problems sincerely provides lasting peace much more than whatever weapons could provide?

Didn’t we have enough of wars in this God forsaken region?

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Comments (119)

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  1. Mahmood says:

    no god forbid you ‘waste’ the money on education or health we have to prioritize and protecting our nation from threats is currently at the top 🙄

  2. Esra'a says:

    Oh but the USA has its own pitiful little justifications. It’s trying to “protect us” (ha ha) from our “common enemy,” Iran. I think they get a kick out of watching us fight, not that they value our lives or freedom or any of that pet talk.

    I find it so laughable that some people are actually falling for the whole “America is really concerned for your rights!”

    Yes, they most certainly do! And they show us that by detaining and imprisoning thousands of innocent civilians at Gitmo.

    Watch the nationalists rip me apart now. “whatz rong wit u, we do dis to protect our rites!”

    Yes and you may have the “right” to protect your own country within your own boundaries. Stay out of ours.

  3. Jerome says:

    “And they show us that by detaining and imprisoning thousands of innocent civilians at Gitmo.”

    There’a about 400 people in Gitmo – not thousands. They’re jihadi fighters caught in the Afghan campaign, not innocent civilians.

    “I think they get a kick out of watching us fight”

    So deprive those sadistic Yanks of their kicks and make peace.

  4. You just said enough about it: they never learn.

  5. Hamad says:

    Well they know we have some more cash these days because of oil prices and they just want us to spend it in worthless things because if we dont it will help us in developing our economey which they hate us to do.

    Our leaders spend money in weapons ,palaces , ladies enjoy your life and people gad for you .

  6. Esra'a says:

    …grown men – those we choose to call “our leaders” –

    I wish we even “choose” to call them that. As soon as we publicly disagree with them we find ourselves risking a prison sentence or – gasp – torture.

    With the current leadership in the entire region we can never turn this place into the great civilization that it once was.

  7. doncox says:

    “Why is it so difficult for grown men – those we choose to call “our leaders” – to engage, sit around a table with a genuine will to solve problems rather than exacerbate them?”____Because the type of person who fights his way to the top to become a “Leader” is not the type that is good at sitting down quietly and sincerely discussing problems. He is more likely to be the type of man who thinks in terms of “him against the world”.

  8. Ibn says:

    The most alarming issue that news like this brings into the spotlight is the simple fact that:

    Arab nations must purchase their militaries from foreign nations!! I had such a hard time swallowing this simple fact when I learnt about it a long time ago. Think of it – we need a foreign power(s) to provide us with equipment for our own protection. Excuse my french, but this immediately makes us their bitch.

    Just the way the West wants it.

    -Ibn

  9. jayjerome says:

    Mahmood: Like many Americans, I’m in favor of withdrawing all American troops from the Mid-East: the sooner the better. That means re-deploying the 5th Fleet, and letting the political chips fall as they may in your region.

    I’m an optimist: I think everything will work out for the best that way, for Bahrain, and the other Gulf nations too.

    Of course when we leave conventional wisdon has it that a ‘power vacuum’ will be created in the region, and Iran the most likely one to fill it. However, I don’t think that will happen to any significant degree. First, I take Iran at its word, that it has no ambitions to increase its sphere of influence in the area. An enlightened modern nation, much maligned by other nations as an overzealous proponent of Islamic theocracy, I for one don’t believe Iran wants to foist its form of government on other Middle East nations, or appropriate any of its neighboring lands. Despite the recent assertion in a commentary published by an editor closely linked to Iran’s supreme leader that a majority of Bahraini citizens wanted their country reunited with Iran, I take the word of the leaders of Iran that they have no such designs, and that the published article was an unfortunate misunderstanding.

    I’m sure that those kinds of unfortunate misunderstadings will subside as soon as the U.S. is out of the picture, and Iran will clearly emerge as a benign force of tolerance. They certainly won’t invade Bahrain, or in any way try to unduly influence Bahraini politics by promoting sectarian discord with the goal of imposing their style of religious government in Shiite majority Bahrain (though they’re doing it in Iraq, that’s an exception that proves the rule); or even try more subtle means to convince Bahrainis their Western-style constitution doesn’t truly reflect of the wishes of the majority of Bahrainis in general by innocuously financing political parties in Bahrain more in tune with Iranian views (Lebanon only a second exception to the rule). Perhaps they will send a few advisors to Bahrain, recruited from the proxies they support elsewhere to spread the word, but other than that, it’s doubtful Iran would arm insurgeants to promote internal discord (Hamas merely a third exception to the rule).

    Nor should the fact that Iran will be a nuclear nation soon have any psychological impact on other nations in the region, or allow Iran to bully them in any way. None of that will happen because after the U.S. vacates the region Iran will concentrate on resuming it’s progressive march toward liberalization at home, reforming their own institutions, and allowing the march toward personal freedoms to continue forward (this minor glitch an exception; and this one too, remnants of the past, erased from memory).

    Yes, I see a rosy future for the Gulf after the U.S. has sailed away– and hopefully Bahrain will be a prime beneficiary. But if I’m mistaken, and the pendulum of freedom swings the other way, and a rising tsunami of sectarian and religious intolerance sweeps over the Gulf, remember to keep your passports handy, and enough money hidden away to buy airline tickets to England, or Scotland, or some other democracy where they’ll let you keep your hard-drives spinning.

  10. Mike says:

    I too am all for the US going home, whats that old saying? Let them kill each other and God will sort them out.

    Not much mention in the story of the blog of the Chinese, Korean, French, and Russian weapons being prvided to Iran, Syria, or the Hezbolah nation of Lebanon etc etc wonder why that is? US arms are being used in Darfur or the ever popular AK47? Surely must be so Darfur continues to provide the US with cheap oil and consumers of AIDs medicine? Oh yea, we all know the US and G Bush are the worlds worst evil doers aduhhh

  11. ash says:

    Increasingly I find myself an isolationist. I think the West as a whole should stick to its own interests and keep the rest of the world at arm’s length, trading with it but not getting involved on any other level. The current interventionist approach – whether military or aid-based – doesn’t do anything to improve anything anywhere. It exacerbates hostilities in the Middle East, keeps Africa in a constant state of dependency, and saps resources that really should be used to improve the lot of vulnerable people in our own societies.

    And personally I think that Saudi Arabia should be shunned exactly as apartheid South Africa was shunned. Won’t happen, of course, until the oil runs out or we develop realistic alternatives to oil. But one day ….

  12. Hamad says:

    Well let me reply our Americans friends . First if American will leave the region I will invite every one for free unlimited drinks if they did . Im sure my pocket is safe J because they will never . May be we leave but not them remember what they did for Red Indian the same happen in Iraq today all the original country people either killed or immigrated but American still there . Iran yes could be a worry but there is international organization should manage this not Americans alone. United nation can prevent every one not American job . about Iran support to Lebanese resistant group remember your support to Israel one example thousands of Lebanese’s people killed in American weapons used by Israel . Ladies , children what ever age or gender you want was killed with no mercy Mr.Darfur . If you want I can take in a tour to watch and see how much your country is great in destroying skills.

    Gad help us if it was my choice I would leave this planet to mars or the moon to not hear about your nonsense stories Mr. American

  13. mahmood says:

    Jay, I did say that Iran is not the danger, but is certainly a danger to be sure. Anyone who can’t see that Iran is indeed expansionist and is desperate for both attention and influence is most probably sight-and-intellect-challenged.

    The real danger that we face in this part of the world specifically is completely of our making and we can’t blame anyone for the continued undemocratic system of governance other than ourselves.

    As for the Americans staying or leaving the area, that’s a completely separate issue which I did not touch. Now that you bring it up; however, I don’t particularly mind them being present provided that the people in which the country plays host to them welcomes them. As far as I can tell, none does so. But as their mandate is not to interfere in internal affairs, and I have not seen any indication that they so far have, I personally don’t mind them being here or anywhere else that welcomes them. As long as they abide by the host country’s rules and regulations.

  14. Esra'a says:

    Gad help us if it was my choice I would leave this planet to mars or the moon

    You better hurry up – or they might claim these as their own real soon and you find yourself rotting at Gitmo for “unauthorized entrance.”

  15. underthepalmtree says:

    Hmmm, well finally Mahmood I disagree with something you’ve said. (Well…at least a little bit) 😎

    Nothing makes a king feel more like a king than a shiny “big shiny army”.

    Have you ever thought that having a stock pile of useless jetfighters is a deterrent to internal instability within Bahrain’s own border? I know it’s not sensible, but maybe the leaders think a powerful military is intimidating, yet not to be used obviously on its own people.

    Have you ever thought that having 5th fleet stationed in Bahrain is a status symbol recognized around the world?

    Have you ever thought that America has been a close ally to Bahrain for over 50 years and would be the first one to protect you? Think about the Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb Islands. Two small specks of land yet significant. Had we have been UAE’s ally at the time and not Iran’s, Sharjar would still proudly have this land.

    I don’t deny that the infrstucture of Bahrain needs A LOT of tweaking, however I would venture to say that the money could be found somewhere in the pockets of the “rich and powerful” for both.

  16. Yvonne Dettwyler says:

    How can they spend that? Have Prada moved into tanks? Maybe they now buy these things at fashion shows, where a commentator gasps: “Ooh, my, my!” as down the catwalk comes this exhilarating design for the very latest satellite-guided armour-penetrating missile modelled here by Kate Moss, designed, of course, by Stella McCartney, and “sure to be this summer’s big bold hit when it comes to melting the Hizbollah”.

    This is $250 for every living American, $10 for everyone on the planet. Are they taking each weapon out individually for a meal at the Ivy? And $13bn of this is for Saudi Arabia. Because if there’s one family on this earth in need of financial aid, it’s the Saudi royal family. Who’s getting the rest – the Bee Gees? Anyway, why do the Saudis need military aid at all? Their favourite weapon seems to be the stone. I suppose now if a woman commits adultery or speaks out of turn she’ll be battered to death with a bloody great ruby instead.”

    Writes MARK STEEL THE INDEPENDENT Columnist today. .
    he Mahmood, on the very same wave length, as you. . Read the article, it’s Monty Python reality, too horrible to think about. Any country on this earth accepting any type of charity! from the US, falls victim sooner than later. Grand Empire in their minds since their existence.
    Malice Toward All, Charity Toward None: The Foundation of the American State, says Prof. Thomas J. DiLorenco, Loyola College Maryland in an article.

    Look at all the Arab Oil States, why haven’t they eliminated dire poverty wih their huge wealth? What are their excuses failing their own people? Same goes for your next door neighbours, your cousins, the Jews. Why do all these “rich” people drive around in gold plated Jaguars, “sport” luxury castles in Cannes, the latest fashion now, Geneva Switzerland etc. isn’t this oil income also the revenue of the local poor, why aren’t they allowed a modest, just modest share there still would be enough for the grand money collectors., and educate them open excellent schools, teach the next generation science, reading, writing, doesn’t the opening of the Qoran say: READ! Why populate the rest of the world with ignorant Imams spewing hatred, shearing fires in the uneducated minds all in the name of Allah? I am watching this with increasing fear for the last 5o years.

  17. mahmood says:

    underthepalmtree:

    Have you ever thought that having a stock pile of useless jetfighters is a deterrent to internal instability within Bahrain’s own border? I know it’s not sensible, but maybe the leaders think a powerful military is intimidating, yet not to be used obviously on its own people.

    I’ve actually been thinking about that since I heart the news: “Ooh, I’ve got a new fully stocked shiny toy store, all me own too!”

    As for

    yet not to be used obviously on its own people

    I humbly disagree there; they most certainly and obviously will use it against their own people if they feel their throne is in jeopardy. Where else would they use these new and shiny weapons? On Israel? Nah, they would have done so already in the 50 odd years they’ve been in our midst; Iran? Possibly, rattling the sabre has not phased them yet and I don’t think that it ever will. When their mullas happily send children and donkeys to clear mine field, the worry of receiving rockets on their people is a non-event; it is martyrdom after all.

    Oh hang on a minute, they could share the very toys they are allowed to buy to the “freedom fighters” in Iraq to blow more Iraqis and Americans (sorry, multinational force) to smithereens!

    There you go, I’ve solved it in one!

  18. mahmood says:

    I am watching this with increasing fear for the last 5o years.

    I’m afraid that you are not in an exclusive club with that notion!

  19. Yvonne Dettwyler says:

    Yes our next imminent trouble arms might come in useful water shortages all over the region. See Egypt, only water source the river Nile highly polluted.

  20. Yvonne Dettwyler says:

    sorry expedtion quicker.

    Check your water resources, all over the region.

  21. M says:

    I have to admit I am a little disappointed that it took only two comments before someone decided to make America the issue again. Fact of the matter is, W is no more a salesman than any other past president in our decades and decades of arms sales to countries big and small all over the world. Yup, we are just as guilty as the Russians, Iranians, Chinese, blah, blah, blah. Of course, like everything else in life, it just depends on your prospective and who is your home team. Seems to me there were many who were cheering Nasrallah and company on not so long ago, but that is understandable I guess.

    At least Mahmood has focused on the people responsible; you. There ought to be a better way; and the powers that be should understand there is danger from many, but the way to retain power is to let go of some of and share it. Not only for their own survival, but because it is the right thing to do. It’s something that needs to be worked for and said over and over again, and people need to courageously stand together and say it instead of looking elsewhere all the time. Other countries can help or hurt along the way, but you are the ones to have to decide between revolution and evolution.

    It’s a good thing some are not afraid of “our common enemy” , because as their citizens will tell you, there is indeed nothing to fear. Some day soon you may get to find that out for yourself. I’m just glad I don’t live in the Middle East cause you have bigger problems than America playing head games with you, and you’re going to get eaten up and spit out long before Americans will. So whine and point fingers and bitch about the “way the West wants it”, but don’t expect the West is going to buy what you’re selling, because the problems you face are long standing and pretty transparent.

  22. Cindy says:

    Since the US always is at her best when she is under the gun, I am siding with the other posters here about just leaving the Gulf. We will, under pressure and out of necessity, produce an alternative to oil and you will learn to live without petrol-$$$’s and the protection provided to you by our military needed to produce and deliver that oil.

    I came to this site a few years ago looking for people in the Middle East who had interests in common with my own. You know, children, gardening, and wildlife, putsing around the house on your day off– The day to day joys of life that give us common ground and eliminate the divide of location, religion and culture. But after reading the responses to this post along with others made here, anyone with common sense can see there are no commonalities big enough to eliminate the elephant in the room.

    It all comes down to how EVIL the US is and how we just keep victimizing the Gulf States.

    (Throws up hands and leaves)

  23. voic says:

    Asalaam Alaykum, I would really like to know what in the hell is in their minds. Can’t any of you see whats going on? if they are giving several ME couteries 20m in weapons, and Isreal the same amount, Hellooooo!! Earth to Humans kill them off, start WWIII!! Is it not bad enough the royals gave land to the US yes i said Gave it to them and they built ther lil base on it and by the way in the basement of that building is ther own lil night club, alachol and all. But they wont even do this for the childern of there own country! Not to mention the half naked women who go there at private invatation. Your only helping the US gov do what they have been doing all these years and yes the US gov consist of zionist and crusaders, oo I no im just a crazy rambling on. No! I’m not and your helping bring it down, Mecca will be as they intend it to be nothing but glass, the new ME and your helping to destroy Islam, May Allah cruse you all as even it is in Quran not to make contracts with the disbelivrs. I am an American so dont even try and turn it, Allahu Akbar!!

  24. Al Ajmi says:

    Mahmood, What do you have to say about this totally ‘undemocrated’ treatment meted out by your countrymen: http://www.blog.com.np/united-we-blog/2007/07/26/nepalis-nightmare-in-the-gulf/
    ? I would love to hear your detailed reply to this.

  25. Wingspan says:

    As an American whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower ( and are subsequently blamed for much ado ) I personally agree with ‘Ash’ .. ” the West as a whole should stick to its own interests and keep the rest of the world at arm’s length, trading with it but not getting involved on any other level. This is what the Founding Fathers of our great nation had in mind for us. The U.S. was created from a rejection of the ‘old world’ and its social and political values, not to mention its constant wars. It wasn’t until Woodrow Wilson and his ‘new policies’ that we began to get involved in affairs across the ocean, much to our everlasting sorrow. I say revive the Monroe Doctrine in both directions and let’s keep to ourselves over here. We have enough to do at home. As to U.S. foreign policies .. TR had it right, “Speak softly and carry a big stick”

  26. mahmood says:

    It’s nothing to do with democracy, it is all to do with human rights and respect, and we seem to have failed miserably.

  27. jayjerome says:

    Yes, that’s how I feel a lot of the time… the world and what’s going on in it is just so frustrating I want to say, “the hell with it” and pull the plug on the computer, the TV, and toss the cell phone into the trash can. And if it was possible, I’d take Hamad’s suggestion, and move to Mars or the Moon to get away from it all — but since that’s unfeasible in the near future, I’ll take the next best option, a day or two on the ocean — fishing.

    Right now, the fishing off the Southern California coast is excellent. They’re catching Calico Bass and Sand Bass, and Halibut, and lots of Barracuda. From San Diego to Los Angeles, there are about 30 fishing wharfs or ‘landings’ (like this one) where you can spend your day in glorious pursuit of game fish.

    There’s something magically relaxing about these trips. No matter how tense and stressed-out your are, you come back relaxed and at peace with the world — if you catch anything or not. There are two kinds of boats available at the landing: private charter boats (you rent the entire boat); and “open party boats” — where individual tickets are sold on a first come, first serve basis. Those are the ones I prefer, because if I get the urge to fish, I can usually just show up and get on; but I also like them because of the mix of people I meet. Sometimes it takes an hour or two reach the spot where the fish are biting, and during the ride you have time to get to know the people fishing with you. California in general, and Los Angeles in particular, is a multi-ethnic, multi-national place, and the fishing boats generally reflects this. On my last trip, for instance, on board there were Mexicans, Peruvians, Iranians, South Koreans, Armenians, Chinese, Japanese, and at least one Palestinian (my long-time friend and fishing buddy, Samir, who immigrated here in the 1980s, and owns one of the best restaurants in Orange County — but that’s another story). Also on board were run-of-the-mill Americans, some Black, some White, and a few who (like Barak Obama) were half and half.

    From the time the boat pulled away from the dock early in the morning, to the time we returned late in the afternoon, nobody on board spoke about politics, or religion, or sectarianism, or terrorism, or about the cost of oil, or censorship, or anything controversial at all: the only commonality of conversation between all the diverse people there was about the best kind of bait to use to catch the most fish — that, and the persistent flow of curse-words echoing on the boat when the fish got off the hook and swam away (it always amazes me how fast foreigners to a country learn the slang and profanity).

    So here’s my suggestion for alleviating world tension: round up all the leaders, all the bureaucrats, all the imams and ayatollahs and cardinals and popes and rabbi and generals, and all the editors and other media opinionators, and outfit them with fishing rods and reels, and take them out on the ocean on a day when the fish are schooling, and — dump them overboard, and let them all drown.

    Yes, my friends — that would solve most of the world’s problems, it would provide a lot of extra food for the fish, so they’d be a lot more fish for us to catch next time around, and it would open up a lot of jobs for people out of work to fill.

  28. jayjerome says:

    “Not to mention the half naked women who go there at private invatation.”

    Do they eventually get fully naked?

  29. anon says:

    @Esra’a

    As soon as we publicly disagree

    I think what you refer to as publicly disagreeing is actually riots, vandalism and throwing molotov cocktail and that my friend should be punishable with prison time.

  30. jayjerome says:

    voic:”I am an American so dont even try and turn it…”

    Are you a Republican or a Democrat?

  31. mahmood says:

    and it would open up a lot of jobs for people out of work to fill.

    like clerics, politicians, media moguls and that sort of thing?! 😉

    What a lovely comment though! After reading that, I have an idea to start a fishing cruiser company! 😆

  32. Abdulkarim says:

    Yvonne Dettwyler refers to Prof. Thomas J. DiLorenco article in which he claims that the foundation of America is “Malice Toward All, Charity Toward None”.

    Well I do not think the notion has any merit. Think of what victorious Rome did to a defeated Carthage? Just compare that to what America did to her two biggest defeated enemies in the 20th century and you will quickly realise that you and your professor are wrong.

  33. Ibn says:

    the West as a whole should stick to its own interests and keep the rest of the world at arm’s length, trading with it but not getting involved on any other level.

    There are two reasons why isolationism would never work in today’s world Wingspan: The antenna, and the jet engine.
    These two inventions have managed to make a 30,000 km wide planet seem like a school-yard.

    Which is good. The world, and the middle east in particular, dont want either an imperialist nor an isolationist America. We DO want you to come out and play, and not be isolationist hermits. By all means, grab a drink, talk, and engage. Just dont become imperialist dicks when you do decide to do it.

    I for one dont think its that hard.

    -Ibn

  34. Aliandra says:

    Hear ya, Wingspan. I’m all for the isolationism and letting foreigners solve their own problems, even if that comes to war among themselves. The best thing to do is just let the assorted conflicts burn themselves out.

    On Iran: Nuclear development by a third world nation with third world quality standards makes me worry about another Chernobyl. Iran is also prone to earthquakes. Considering how badly they handled the last one, should they really be building plants?

    Ibn: Whether America is isolationist or interventionist, it will get blamed for doing something and for not doing something, usually in the same breath. Better to not do it and save the effort. It will also encourage the rest of the world to be more proactive about addressing their issues. And believe you-me, after this Iraq business, expect a trend toward being isolationist dicks in the next few decades.

    Mahmood: Did you mean ‘Katching’ or ‘Kvetching’? Hard to spell either way, heh.

    Now, if only I had a fishing boat and lived near the CA coast.

  35. mahmood says:

    katching, as the sound of that till drawer opening to receive a customer’s benevolence. And yes, although I hate fishing – owing to my impatience and the availability of much better fair in a local supermarket – after that description I wouldn’t mind being the first in line on that wharf!

  36. Ibn says:

    Ibn: Whether America is isolationist or interventionist, it will get blamed for doing something and for not doing something, usually in the same breath. Better to not do it and save the effort. It will also encourage the rest of the world to be more proactive about addressing their issues. And believe you-me, after this Iraq business, expect a trend toward being isolationist dicks in the next few decades.

    Umm, no, Aliandra.

    First of all, realise that the motivation and likeliness of placing blame on someone is directly proportional to how liked they are to begin with.

    Therefore the degree to which the US is blamed for this and that today, with the US acting as Imperialist bullies, is not the same as the degree to which it will be blamed and suspected once they decide to play fair. Both degrees are different, and you cannot simply ‘copy/paste’ today’s outlook on the US and say that its just going to be the same once its changed.

    To do so would assume that those opinions people have of the US are created in a vacuum, or at least, have to do with the nature of the US. (i.e, they will always hate us because of our intrinsic nature). The fact however is that the US is hated for its actions.

    In fact – now that I think of it – this gives me a window into the inner assumptions of your mind. Would I be mistaken to assume, that you belong to the they-hate-us-because-we-have-freedom camp? Just curious to test my hypothethis.

    -Ibn

  37. Esra'a says:

    I think what you refer to as publicly disagreeing is actually riots, vandalism and throwing molotov cocktail and that my friend should be punishable with prison time.

    Yeah, that’s exactly what bloggers/journalists do! You’re so right. We also put pictures of burning trash cans in our posts, just so they can investigate us! We’re so violent. I kicked a wall in this morning because I disagreed with a news article. Us hulks can’t control ourselves when we disagree with or question our government.

  38. Esra'a says:

    It all comes down to how EVIL the US is and how we just keep victimizing the Gulf States.

    Listen very carefully:

    When your government mingles in our business, you better expect these types of reactions concerning your country. Are the commenters here anti-American? No, they are doing what many of you do each day, they are practicing their rights of expressing their opinions. This is our country we are talking about and we have every goddamned right in this world to question USA’s role within it. You can throw your hands and role your eyes or blow your whistles or do whatever the hell you do when annoyed – but you better accept, expect, and respect one thing, and that is our right to express what we think about any government that butts into our business in any way, shape, or form.

    I’m simply sick of watching our opinions being reduced to a footnote. You disagree with us and suddenly we’re blaming you for the world’s ills? What’s wrong with you? Have you no experience in debating? People disagree, many Americans today are blogging in the same manner that we are regarding these moves. I don’t see you flailing your arms around in irritation.

    Yes America is a great and admirable country, no we won’t bend over to your sticks just because we hurt your feeling when we disagree with your laughable foreign policies, which we will continue to criticize. It’s our lives in question. Our future. Our children. Do NOT turn this into a hateful conspiracy when we are merely debating a political move. Get over yourself and accept criticism. Better yet learn how to refute these arguments like an adult instead of resorting to this hideous conclusion that we are somehow haters or conspiracy theorists. I guess it’s really hard to understand why we’re having this discussion when you’re sitting safely in the luxury and comfort of your country. Why care about the rest of the world anyways? “Good gawd, is Baaahrayn even a country?!”

  39. ash says:

    @ Ibn – “hatred” of America tends to be grossly overstated. Oddly, this “hatred” doesn’t seem ever to lessen the numbers who seek to emigrate to the States, or who visit on holiday. It doesn’t reduce the market for American movies, or American music, or American TV.

    A lot of it is simply chagrin – the sniping that the less powerful invariably aim at the powerful.

    And I say that as a non-American.

    Aliandra is absolutely correct to say that “Whether America is isolationist or interventionist, it will get blamed for doing something and for not doing something, usually in the same breath.” Evidence: here in the UK, the very same people who attacked America for intervening in Iraq are currently attacking America for not having intervened to stop the genocide in Sudan.

  40. Ammar says:

    You think structuring these little wars and arguments is not part of their “master-plan”?

    its all a simple case of Divide & Conquer. When we’re all fighting against each other over the stupidest things, we can’t put our money and power together to come up with anything more useful than a society that does nothing for the world besides being a lazy fat cash cow.

    Imagine if the oil-rich countries had an organized system. Imagine if they all worked together. Imagine not only the GCC countries, but Iraq and Iran too. And why not Egypt? Lebanon? Syria? etc?

    Imagine if they could sit together in a room and not argue. Imagine if they were united?

    but… Pah. Nothing.

    No wonder we’ll never get anywhere

  41. Craig says:

    By the way, Esther:

    Are the commenters here anti-American? No

    I think we Americans get to make that call, correct? After all, it’s SOP for a bigot to claim she isn’t actually a bigot. I’ve been calling you an America basher for over a year. I’m very happy to see that others have observed the same thing about you.

  42. M says:

    Craig,

    You’re comments are way out of line. While Esra has tried a different track in her latest comment, I think all she and others do is prove Cindy’s point of view. Too bad really, because we are back to the big bad wolf being the focus instead of Bahrain and the commonalities that both Mahmood and Cindy talk about as a basis for the good of everyone on the island.

  43. Aliandra says:

    Ibn;

    With statements like:

    ‘I think they get a kick out of watching us fight” – (Esra’a 31 Jul, 2007 at 14:04)

    ‘they just want us to spend it in worthless things because if we dont it will help us in developing our economey which they hate us to do.” (Hamad 31 Jul, 2007 at 18:10)

    ‘this immediately makes us their bitch. Just the way the West wants it” (Ibn 31 Jul, 2007 at 21:54) –( although with oil at $70 a barrel who is whose bitch is debatable)

    ‘Mecca will be as they intend it to be nothing but glass, the new ME and your helping to destroy Islam’ (voic 1 Aug, 2007 at 19:01)

    ‘You think structuring these little wars and arguments is not part of their “master-plan”?’ (Ammar 2 Aug, 2007 at 12:57)

    -and in an earlier thread, – the poster who blamed the US for a crow infestation in some Baharini neighborhood.

    Beliefs like these imply a cultural persecution complex way out of proportion to real American misdeeds.

    The region most screwed over by US actions is Latin America. Yet the Latinos have no visceral terrorist-generating hatred. I reckon they don’t blame the Yanks for plagues of sparrows either.

  44. mdc says:

    Well Craig, it would seem you have your own personal editor which in this case is berry, berry good. :mrgreen:

    Sorry, Esra’a wasn’t trying to do a Craig with the name misspelling. Just needed one more cup of coffee, I guess.

  45. mahmood says:

    and just to be on record, Craig, I have removed your original comment as it was completely out of line and is quite unbecoming of you.

  46. Esra'a says:

    Anyone who calls a person that rightfully questions American interests in our countries an “American basher” has severe issues.

    You may think that these feelings of concern and worry are exaggerated and not justified, but perhaps when our buildings and lives crash before us, we’ll learn how to say ‘I told you so.’ Just like many Iraqis and Afghans are doing today.

    Really, all the nationalists and apologists within this thread are an embarrassment to humanity.

  47. Abdulkarim says:

    Ash got it right. America is getting blamed for going into Iraq and is blamed yet again for not getting into Darfur. America could never get it right. Could she?

    What do people like Esra’a and Ammar want? What can America do to make you happy? Would you be happy if, God forbids, she becomes isolationist again and keeps her sons and daughters home? What would you do when the fascists of Yugoslavia, or whatever is left of it, re start raping women in Kosovo? I don’t expect you to do anything but thanks heaven not everybody is like you. There are people who care about their fellow human beings be they are in Kosovo or Darfur. As for you, you will no doubt continue to hide shamelessly behind your out of fashion conspiracy theories and non interference in internal affairs dogma. That is not humanity.

  48. Esra'a says:

    For the love of anything deserving of love, you should learn how not to jump into conclusions. Who is blaming America for our ills? Do you see me saying “it’s all America’s fault!” This is what I hate about people – you criticize certain actions and policies done by the American government and suddenly you get lumped into the “American basher” category.

    What do people like Esra’a and Ammar want? What can America do to make you happy?

    Free coffee from Starbucks. Duh.

    Abdulkarim tell me, what did you ever do for freedom? While you are here blaming me for being inhumane and for supposedly “blaming” America, we continue to lead campaigns concerning migrant rights, sexual slavery, free speech in Egypt, ALL of which have absolutely nothing to do with America. As a matter of fact, the American State Department has personally thanked us for leading Kareem’s campaign, a gesture which we really appreciate.

    And now we are trying to help Kurds by petitioning for their free speech in the Middle East. Not to mention our campaign for Baha’i rights in Muslim countries. We also help Arab Jews and Christians by giving them a more powerful voice within our regional blogosphere.

    So tell me sir, what are YOU doing for humanity and freedom, Abdulkarim?

    Am I blaming America for all these things? Do you see our campaign associating ANY of these abuses with America? No.

    Before accusing us of being bashers, you should understand why we shreak away from any form of American intervention. I’d fear any government that intervenes in this manner, and in this case it’s America. Had it been Iran or Russia or France I would have been just as critical and emotional in my response.

  49. Craig says:

    Anyone who calls a person that rightfully questions American interests in our countries an “American basher” has severe issues.

    You don’t “rightfully question”, Ernie. You tell malicious lies and blame the US for things it didn’t do. And anybody who challenges your statements (like I used to do on your Mideast Youth blog) gets subjected to gratuitous abuse.

    Mahmood, you didn’t answer my question. Perhaps the lack of answer is your answer, which offers me some hope that your opinion of her has changed.

  50. Esra'a says:

    You tell malicious lies and blame the US for things it didn’t do.

    Kindly offer an example (i.e, a quote) of both incidents – me being apparently “abusive” and then me blaming the US for something it didn’t do. Let’s see your luck in finding them.

  51. Esra'a says:

    I wrote a comment to Abdulkarim and it didn’t show up, so I’m doing it again.

    Thanks Abdulkarim for firstly not reading anything I posted in this thread. Secondly thank you for embarrassing yourself by implying that we don’t actually contribute anything to humanity. Can you please tell me what you did for freedom and human rights? Please name me your contributions so far, and please give me an example of where I blamed America for all our ills.

    While you sit here and accuse us of being American bashers, we were personally thanked by the American State Department for leading Kareem’s campaign at FreeKareem.org, we were personally thanked by US Baha’is for leading the BahaiRights.org campaign which aims to help Baha’is within our region from shameless persecution.

    We give Arab and Iranian Christians and Jews a voice at MeFaith.com, and now we are fighting for Kurdish rights, in fact we have just launched our first petition concerning that at mideastyouth.com/petitions

    So the question is not what America has to do to make us happy, the question is what more do you want us to do for freedom? Why rely on the USA when these are our own issues? We never blamed the USA throughout any of these campaigns. In fact American congressment were supporting our Free Kareem campaign and we had direct contact with them, is that really anti-American?

    Abdelkareem, more importantly, what did you do for freedom in our region, can you name me one valuable network or initiative you started? Or would you rather spam other blogs and cluelessly point your fingers towards our direction claiming that we are inhumane and abusive conspiracy theorists whose only fault is questioning American foreign policies?

    I find it very pitiful that this thread has gone this far, with people blaming others merely because they criticized. Trust me, if it was Russia, Iran, France, or Greenland intervening – we would be reacting in the exact same emotional manner because it’s our future in question. Keep that in mind the next time you whine about “humanity” and realize how many of us are risking our lives on a daily basis to fight for what’s just in this world. I don’t see you doing this for humanity, so please don’t even question our intentions, unless you actually commit yourself to such values.

  52. mahmood says:

    Craig, grow up. You have a grudge against Esra’a take the issue up with her and don’t drag anyone else into your arguments please.

    As to my personal opinion of Esra’a, I think she is a brilliant young woman who is doing much more than a whole bunch of human beings sitting around a complaining in theory, she is doing something active and real in practice. I love her convictions and her tenacity for getting things that she believes in done.

  53. Abdulkarim says:

    Well Esra’a I have gone over the responses above now and it seems I have indeed jumped into conclusion. I should have directed my outburst at Ammar only. I did not know you were doing so much wonderful work for humanity. Certainly more than I ever did. I raise my hat to you my lady and I do apologies.

  54. Craig says:

    Mahmood,

    Craig, grow up. You have a grudge against Esra’a take the issue up with her and don’t drag anyone else into your arguments please.

    She has a personal grudge against America. And she has raised it, here. I have tried to confront her on her own blog, and all I got for my efforts was abuse from her and other bigots. I tried to take it up with you her both, here, when you made a post praising her. And, I got abuse from her and other bigots. While you said nothing.

    As you have said nothing condemning her bigotry in this thread. You want I should be quiet while she plays the bigot on your blog? Why not tell her to be quiet, instead, if you don’t support her bigotry.

    As to my personal opinion of Esra’a, I think she is a brilliant young woman who is doing much more than a whole bunch of human beings sitting around a complaining in theory, she is doing something active and real in practice

    In practice? All I see her doing, in practice, is repeating the very worst of the standard Arab anti-West and anti-US hate-mongering. You call that “brilliance”?

    I’ve lost all respect for you, Mahmood. You talk a good game but then you let a hate-mongering propagandist like her do all your heavy lifting for you.

    PS to Earwig: I don’t need to “prove” your bigotry. Anybody can go to your blog and see it for themselves, on any given day. Or, they can see it right here.

  55. Craig says:

    Abdulkarim, you should know that Ebeneezer is a liar. Don’t take what she says at face value. I urge you to go to her blog and see what she says in posts and in comments, to find out about her true opinions and her true activities.

    It seems the US State Department hasn’t looked into her as well as they should, if they truly “thanked her” for her efforts. Perhaps they just sent a form letter to everyone who claimed they were doing “good things” though. That wouldn’t be unlike our inept Department of State.

  56. mahmood says:

    Oh man, Esra’a, WHAT button did you press there? And if I pay you well enough, can you please, pretty pretty please tell me?

    Craig, the only bigot I see here is you. I hoped that you would do the adult thing and re-evaluate your position but unfortunately it has fallen on deaf ears. Know that I am not seeking nor do I value your respect, as that value is hardly present in your stances and hence yourself. I would strongly advise you once again to step back from whatever it is you felt slighted by, and look objectively at the situation before hate becomes the modus operandi of your life.

    I just hope it is not too late. For your sake.

  57. underthepalmtree says:

    As an American, one of the things I treasure most is freedom of speech. Anybody has the right to say what ever they want, whenever they want, no matter how smart or stupid it is.

    However, one of the best things that I learned in the Middle East is the saying that, “only God is perfect”. Therefore people make mistakes and countries make mistakes.

    If we insist on seeing ourselves and each other as purely good or purely evil we will never have a meaningful conversation.

    Peace…. 😆

  58. Abdulkarim says:

    Craig, I took Esra’a at face value. I think that is the most sensible thing to do. If it turns out that her true beliefs are different then that is another issue really. What matters most here is what people say in this post.

    Perhaps I should not have mentioned names but my views remain the same. In fact, nobody thus far in this post has disputed these. This somehow shows that much of the hate directed at the US in this region is unjustified and impossible to defend. It is nothing but hypocracy.

    That is why I disagree with “underthepalmtree”. I do not know if he / she understands Arabic or not but I can tell him / her that there is a lot of written and spoken words in the Middle East that are more to do within inciting murder than free speech. That is a crime that should not be tolerated.

  59. Ibn says:

    Aliandra,

    Beliefs like these imply a cultural persecution complex way out of proportion to real American misdeeds.

    Aliandra, how do you personally distinguish between a ‘complex’, and ‘learnt expectations via experience’? A complex is defined as ‘An exaggerated or obsessive concern or fear.’ Learning through experience does not usually have an exaggerated element. So the question becomes, just what part in those statements, or of the general Arab anti-Western sentiments, do you find to be particularly ‘exaggerated’, with no grounding in reality? And before you scream “see! see! Cultural complex!” after looking for patients in a Damascus mental institution who claim that crow problems are the US’s fault, or that Zidane’s head-butt was caused by a Zionist conspiracy, I will ask you to widen your people-filter a little bit. It is quite telling if in a debate, one must dig up a nobody’s dirtiest laundry in order to damn an entire culture.

    Eitherway, the onus is on your to prove, that our expectations and suspicions of the West are ‘exaggerated’ in any way, shape or form. Here is my argument, showing a clear link between statements made so far my Arabs on this blog, and their inherent groundings in YOUR country’s state of affairs:

    ‘this immediately makes us their bitch. Just the way the West wants it” (Ibn 31 Jul, 2007 at 21:54) –( although with oil at $70 a barrel who is whose bitch is debatable)

    Hmm, lets see – when your prior (yet typical in this respect) US government as well as that of Britain drew up plans for the ‘Invasion of Arab oil fields’ in 1973 during the oil crisis, coupled with their actions henceforth, this I think gives us all right to claim that we are in the bitch camp, just as you people would want it. (Link here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3333995.stm)

    ‘Mecca will be as they intend it to be nothing but glass, the new ME and your helping to destroy Islam’ (voic 1 Aug, 2007 at 19:01)

    Oh of course Aliandra. The great and moral people of the United States would never stand for something like that. But their elected congressmen might. (link: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,162795,00.html), but themselves? Naahh… ha! So, a US congressman, comes out with a master-plan for bombing Mecca (Holy site for many, home to many others), and of course, pundit Robert Spencer of the well respected ‘Front Page Mag’s only consolation, is that the US should never nuke Mecca because ‘Why bother? It wouldnt work.’ And this isnt some rag from the fly over states. This is the front page mag! I mean, the guy’s even wearing a suit!

    Furthermore, in the aftermath of the Sep11 attacks, it was alleged that “Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told Pakistani officials that the US would bomb Pakistan ‘back to the stone age’ if it did not cooperate with Washington on the war on terror.” Now, Armitage later ‘clarified’ that he did not say this, but merely told Musharraf, that ‘he had a choice to make’. Reading between the lines, this means, “Either you co-operate, or we bomb you back to the stone age”.

    (Link: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14943975/)

    Now do me a favour Aliandra. Google search ‘Nuke Mecca’, and savour the commonality of this sentiment among a good portion of Americans in your midst, and in the blogosphere. It is no secret that 1 in 4 Americans view Muslims in their midst as ‘unfavorable’ – similar statistics of Muslim views of Americans overseas would be considered ‘jihadist’ or if we are talking about Israelis, ‘anti-semetic’. But in the US its acceptable because well, you see, ‘we’ bombed the towers right? (Link: http://pewforum.org/docs/index.php?DocID=89).

    And when you’re done with that Aliandra, you can move on to google ‘Nuke Iran’.

    ‘they just want us to spend it in worthless things because if we dont it will help us in developing our economey which they hate us to do.” (Hamad 31 Jul, 2007 at 18:10)

    You know, the funny thing about healthy and growing economies Aliandra, is that it creates prosperity, and wealth for all citizenry of a state. Of course, you will need to protect that wealth from anyone seeking to usurp it from you, and you will hence need to create a top-notch military and defence industry. How then Aliandra, do we couple that, with Condoleeza Rice’s statement in the light of the recent US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, in which she said:

    We are mindful that Israel must maintain its “qualitative edge” in the region.

    (Link: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/07/28/saudi.arms/)

    ————————————-

    So how tell me Aliandra, your government ministers have openly threatened bombing to the stone age various countries should they not co-operate, have remarked about turning Mecca into glass (and have been defended by talking heads in doing so), have willingly acknowledged that the Arab states are never to ‘qualitatively’ elevate about Israel in the region, and are pretty much parked there with a dozen or so military bases and carrier groups in the region, to protect, as one American student’s slip of the tongue said, ‘Our oil’. All this, while at the same time, 25% of the citizenry does not like Muslims.

    Thus, in light of all this Aliandra, I challenge you again to provide counter evidence in support of your hypothesis that the Arab/Muslim state of mind in this respect is based on an unsubstantiated and hysterical ‘culture complex’, and not on decades worth of learnt experience, suspicion, and betrayal.

    Because frankly, it seems amply clear, who is whose bitch in today’s state of affairs.

    -Ibn

  60. Esra'a says:

    Other than trying to be hilarious by playing with variations of my name, Caroline (or was it Craig?) I meant Catherine, I’ve yet to see you post evidence of my so-called “hate-mongering.” You have a link to my blog. Why don’t you use it and bring up the evidence? I’ve offered proof of my work here you’ve yet to prove a single claim against me.

    You keep asking people to visit my blog, other than this being a marketing campaign on my behalf… I don’t quite see the point in your hatred.

    What did I say about America? I have a USA category in my blog which you are more than welcome to use for your research. Give me one single entry in which I bashed America in a hate-mongering fest. Just one.

    How do you expect to call others liars when you simply refuse to show the evidence of your laughable assumptions, despite the fact that you have complete access to all my blog entries?!

    You’re the laughing stock of this thread. I hope you enjoyed your little bitch fest here.. personally I’m much more interested now to see the thread meander in a completely different direction, which is a discussion between Aliandra and Ibn. I’m no longer interested in your childish grudge against me, which you have yet to justify, Casper. You obviously haven’t done anything with your life to gain anyone’s respect, and you’re certainly proving to be worthless by insisting that I’m an “abusive bigot.”

    call me sumtimez cathy

    we can e-date

    gtg bash amerikka now ur GAP stores rilly rilly suck and wtf is wrung with sitcoms fix them up k im soooo sick of that oh and ur coffee? grossss omg buy better mashines

    wtf is wrong with amerika guyz iznt it just sooo bad itz awful down down w/ usa down down w/usa

  61. mdc says:

    Aliandra,

    I suppose you could spend an hour or so on Google and link to some quotes from Arab/Muslim government officials, politicians, business leaders, religious leaders and the average Joe on the street espousing “Death to America” as more proof of your side of this argument, but I wouldn’t bother. Ibn is not disputing the Arab/Muslim suspicions of the West; he simply disagrees with you that they are out of proportion, although they are justified because of decades of experience with America.

    “Either way, the onus is on your to prove, that our expectations and suspicions of the West are ‘exaggerated’ in any way, shape or form.”

    “Arab/Muslim state of mind in this respect is based on an unsubstantiated and hysterical ‘culture complex’, and not on decades worth of learnt experience, suspicion, and betrayal.”

    Personally, I think that is nothing more than the usual cop out, but since Ibn thinks
    ………“First of all, realize that the motivation and likeliness of placing blame on someone is directly proportional to how liked they are to begin with.”………I’m sure he will have no problem with any country profiling those people who statistically are shown to be involved in suicide bombings or acts of terrorism or with Israel retaliating every time there is a suicide bombing based on that logic.

    Seems to me there’s a whole lot of double standards going on about and between the West and the Arab world. I don’t buy the justification/cop out theory, because I think the same standards that are applied to me ought to apply to others. So waste some more time if you are so inclined, but it’s a beautiful day and the weeds in my garden are calling.

  62. Ibn says:

    mdc,

    Personally, I think that is nothing more than the usual cop out,

    My non-cop-out answer: Dear America. You are always right. We have been, are, and always will be, wrong. We apologise for feeling, how shall we say… ‘mildly irritated’ when we watched 1 million Iraqi children prerish in your self-imposed sactions, because you wanted to secure ‘your’ black gold in a region that wasnt yours anyway.

    We apologise for the whole gamut from the fall of the Roman Empire, to Hurricane Katrina. We over did the rain prayers a little and forgot to specify to Allah where exactly we wanted them, and being the detail-orientied omnipotent and omniscent entity that he is, he rolled the dice and they landed on New Orleans. We are so oh very sorry.

    And although we couldnt quite understand why the great big Ameirca who’s whole existance is based on immigrants couldnt accept fleeing Jews from Europe, and instead encouraged and assisted them to settle in Palestine whose size is no more that Rhode Island’s, we now know that Palestine’s surface area extends actually extends into the 5th dimension and thus covers much greater land that America. We now see your logic. How could we have been so shortsighted! Again, our deepest, deepest apologies!

    hahaha!

    -Ibn

  63. ash says:

    @ Ibn – “when we watched 1 million Iraqi children prerish in your self-imposed sactions, because you wanted to secure ‘your’ black gold in a region that wasnt yours anyway.”

    1) Meanwhile, despite sanctions, Saddam Hussein managed to build dozens of expensive show-case palaces and mosques throughout Iraq. The money was obviously there; it was his choice to spend it on vainglorious projects rather than on taking care of those he ruled.

    2) Nothing the West does will ever please you. If we trade with your shitty rulers then we’re accused of “backing” them. If we impose sanctions upon them when they gas their own people and invade neighbouring countries, then we’re accused of killing a million children. Make your mind up.

    3) Try having a few revolutions to get rid of your shitty governments instead of forever blaming the outside world for them. The USA, France, Russia, China, Iran etc all changed their destinies through revolution (though I wouldn’t recommend the Russian/Chinese/Iranian models). This will mean accepting a great deal of upheaval, hardship and bloodshed, as well as having a real vision of the future direction you want to go in. But many other countries have managed it.

    But then there’s always Option 4: spend all your time whining and blaming the USA/the West/the Evil Zionists for your misfortunes. That way, you get to feel self-righteous without having to give up your iPod, TV, car, air con, and other little Western luxuries.

  64. Anonny says:

    3) This will mean accepting a great deal of upheaval, hardship and bloodshed, as well as having a real vision of the future direction you want to go in. But many other countries have managed it.

    You mean they have to take the bloodshed
    route instead of highlighting problems and
    discussing them freely, Ash?

    Just so long as the bloodshed is not in
    our Western nations, eh, Ash?

    That way, you get to feel self-righteous without having to give up your iPod, TV, car, air con, and other little Western luxuries.

    Yeah, just like us. Oh, and when you say
    Western luxuries, do you mean all of those
    lovely things that come out of cardboard
    and polystyrene packaging marked “Made in
    China/Korea/Japan”?

    Ash, you don’t always read like you did in
    that post of yours. And when you read
    history, doesn’t it make you feel a little
    less smug? Reading history makes me wonder
    how long the Western nations will retain
    any effective power in the world at all.
    Perhaps we should learn a little about
    that thing called humility?

  65. ash says:

    @ Anonny – Western nations have had as much or more bloodshed in the course of their history as anywhere else. Many have also had bloody revolutions in order to overthrow their own despotic regimes. I’d suggest that it’s you who needs to read some history. You could start with the French Revolution. The idea that the West just magically appeared as this comfortable, safe, wealthy place is laughable. It was achieved through blood, sweat and tears, just as any most major power shifts are achieved.

    If you can effect significant change in your countries by talking then fine. But if you can’t then your choices are either to endure the status quo forever or to revolt and overthrow despotic governments. Moaning about the Evil West is never, ever going to alter reality in the Middle East. If anything, it’s counterproductive in that it allows your worst regimes to refuse to take responsibility for their own excesses and mismanagement. It also – as this thread amply demonstrates – alienates essentially well-meaning Westerners who would otherwise be supportive of your efforts. And the latter DOES matter because the more ordinary Westerners shrug their shoulders and walk away, the less political pressure there is for understanding and change and the easier it gets for the truly vicious and exploitative, everywhere in the world, to get their way.

  66. mahmood says:

    If you can effect significant change in your countries by talking then fine. But if you can’t then your choices are either to endure the status quo forever or to revolt and overthrow despotic governments. Moaning about the Evil West is never, ever going to alter reality in the Middle East. If anything, it’s counterproductive in that it allows your worst regimes to refuse to take responsibility for their own excesses and mismanagement. It also – as this thread amply demonstrates – alienates essentially well-meaning Westerners who would otherwise be supportive of your efforts. And the latter DOES matter because the more ordinary Westerners shrug their shoulders and walk away, the less political pressure there is for understanding and change and the easier it gets for the truly vicious and exploitative, everywhere in the world, to get their way.

    hear hear.

    I would suggest; however, that we should at least try evolution before revolution. That revolution thing has passed and I don’t think that the current era can accept or produce such a thing. But evolution is more than welcomed, it does take longer, but I personally think that it is safer and more sustainable as you would change the culture by the way to make it more accepting of taking responsibility and accountability, etc, all of which are necessary for survival in this day and age.

  67. Anonny says:

    Ash,

    I am a Westerner. I have lived in Bahrain for a few years now. Through marriages, my family is linked to Bahraini families. There are children. At stake are their lives in your recipe for revolution. It’s easy for you to spout this crap when you yourself believe you lose nothing. I only have to look at my siblings and nephews to know that grand theories are not enough.

    Don’t patronise me or anyone else about these issues. You as well as I know that bloody revolutions would have taken place if the present leaderships in the Middle East were not supported by Western governments – the US and the UK in particular. That’s the bloodshed you’re writing about, whether you know it or not. And the revolutions would project what type of people into power? Again I think you know the answer to this one.

    As for blood, sweat and tears, yes well, my English ancestors went through that too. And then we went through the Renaissance. I don’t think the Americans take that too much into consideration, though, because they are the descendants (for the most part) of people who ran away from Europe before and during the Renaissance – because they wanted to carry on being religious loonies (the Pilgrim Fathers et al) instead of evolving culturally in the way that Europe attempted to do.

    Mahmood has suggested evolution instead of violent revolution, as have a lot of other intelligent, informed and well-educated people. It appears that you have given up on this option because some Arabs weren’t nice to you on mahmood.tv. Perhaps they are not grateful enough for their i-pods?

  68. Abdulkarim says:

    Revolutions need not to be bloody and they should not be for human life is sacred. Think of the Velvet Revolution, the Orange Revolution and the Russian Revolution. Not the bloody one of 1917 but that of 1991 when Perestroika swept away Mikhail Gorbachev. The very man who brought it all about!

    These were monumental events in the political development of man yet they were all peaceful. Look at Poland! It has undertekn almost revolutionary type transformation but without a single shot being fired in anger.

    Evolution would be great but it means re inventing the wheel. By the time the Arabs reach the level the West is in now the rest ofhumanity would have migrated to another galaxy! Nobody would wait for them to evolve.

    As for Iraq well Ash has said it. Saddam did not have any problem finding the money to build his palaces. There was no sanction really to speak off not in the true sense of the word. The sanction was nothing more than an attempt to control the proceeds from the sale of oil. Sadly, Saddam found a way out with his oil coupons to build yet more palaces rather than buying food for his people.

    One correction to Ash if I may; the French Revolutions was not the first of the modern era. Rather it was those events in England in the 1640s and 1650s that led to the beheading of King Charles 1st. The English, paying with their blood, established for the first time ever in human history that kings were answerable to their people. The Euopeans never had it on a golden plate.

    I would very much recommend to anybody to read;

    The Tyrannicide Brief: The Man Who Sent Charles I to the Scaffold by Geoffrey Robertson.

    It should help anybody to understand as to why similar revolutions are unlikely to happen amongst the Arabs for they are preoccupied with the “Evil West” and their IPods!

  69. Mahmood: “Proof really that the US President and his whole government enchilada are simply the best salesmen and women the world has ever known.”

    Selling weapons to Middle Eastern governments is the easiest sales job on the planet. It’s like selling firewood to Eskimoes. And really, if they don’t buy them from America, the Europeans will be happy to sell them all the weapons they can carry. Saddam’s regime was proof of that.

    Mahmood: “We give them oil at preferred rates, they allow us to buy their weapons which we can’t use but are very adept at obsoleting before we even learn they are actually in our stores and someone (or more) keeps a fat commission – which is a wholly legitimate business practice of course.”

    Mahmood, that would be great if you gave us oil. I hate paying $3/gallon. Of course, we’re buying it at wholesale rates and the Arab countries who sell it to us don’t discount it for America, Mom, the flag, and apple pie. Saudi gets its security in return, a security that it can not give itself despite all the weapons in the world.

    You’re quite right that the Saudis can’t really use all those weapons they buy from us. The first Gulf War was the proof of that. After all those weapons we delivered, the Saudis had no confidence in their military and outsourced their defense to America.

    The problem is not just an inability to master complex technology, but a lack of will to defend Saudi Arabia. A friend of mine trained Saudis in Saudi Arabia. He said the Saudi military officers he was ordered to train weren’t interested in being trained. They sat around all day drinking tea. The enlisted men tried to learn it, but they didn’t have the education. So nobody learned anything.

    When Saudis come to train in the US, many of them don’t show up for class. They get the graduation certificate they paid for and go back to KSA as dumb as they came. If the officer is well-connected, he may get a Distinguished Foreign Graduate award, if he shows up to take it.

    Mahmood: “Completely forgetting that the best way to solve perceived problems with neighbours is discussion and engagement, not buying more useless weapons which will undoubtedly escalate mistrust and lead to an arms race the only winners of which are the arms manufacturers.”

    We disagree on this, Mahmood. An armed society is a polite society. Weakness invites predators to do their worse. Talk can not take the place of an active defense. It can only help confirm the facts in place.

    I’m also quite shocked, shocked that you have let me crawl back on your website. Didn’t you kick me off? Quite frankly, your security procedures need review in light of this hideous lapse. Do you really want posters like me traipsing about your site? I would think not. Quite frankly, I don’t know that I want to visit any website that allows people like me in it.

    Unless, of course, Mahmood, you subconsciously really want me to post on your Den. Maybe this is really a cry for help.

  70. mahmood says:

    Ah, ok then… now you’ve amply proven – as if that was required – that you have no shame whatsoever, and for that I don’t think there is any security system in the world that would prevent you from once again making a fool of yourself.

  71. Ibn says:

    Ash,

    1) Meanwhile, despite sanctions, Saddam Hussein managed to build dozens of expensive show-case palaces and mosques throughout Iraq. The money was obviously there; it was his choice to spend it on vainglorious projects rather than on taking care of those he ruled.

    …. You know this is telling. The subject is the actions of the United States vis-a-vis Arab countries and peoples, and here you are putting the spotlight on Saddam Hussein, whose greediness and evil no one is contesting on this board.
    It is almost as if, in your mind, one who critisizes the US is automatically loyal to Arab despots. Why the mutual exclusivity Ash?

    Nothing the West does will ever please you. If we trade with your shitty rulers then we’re accused of “backing” them. If we impose sanctions upon them when they gas their own people and invade neighbouring countries, then we’re accused of killing a million children. Make your mind up.

    Make up my mind to what? The exact number of perished Iraqi children? Again, your own statements betray a deeper held assumption you have of the false alternatives that characterize your arguments – that for one to be critical – overly critical – of the United States, automatically means that he is loyal with despots.

    You state that sactions were imposed on Iraq for ‘gassing their own people’. How dare you Ash. How dare you perpetuate a lie so vile. I am sure that someone such as yourself knows of the Iraqi use of chemical weapons against Iran – against civilian centers as well as military targets. Iraq gassed Iranians Ash. But no sanctions were imposed on Iraq then right Ash? Know why? Because the US was supporting Iraq in its action against Iran at the time. We’re talking about human beings here – entire Iranian villages and infantry divisions choking up on their own blood while their eyeballs burnt and liquified – and what was the US response? Nada. The US’s geopolitcal goal at the time was for containing Iran you see. And what Iraq did by proxy for the US was provide them with boat loads of Iranian skulls. The US’s goal was satisfied.

    Now, when Saddam decided to invade Kuwait, this was a no-no for the US. ‘Its’ oil as many Americans will tell you, was threatened, so of course it had to take action. Now that Saddam was a bad guy all the sudden, it became a horror story that he gassed Shias and Kurds who rose up against him. He became a tyrant. A despot. A mass-murderer overnight. But when he used those same means against Iran? Ha! He was hailed as a great ally in this new war! This new war pitting a secular force of reason and civilization against the old barbaric ways of Islamic extremism! Gas away Saddam!

    So dont insult open minds Ash, and dont desecrate the dead either, by perpetuating this vile lie, that the US imposed sanctions because of some humanitarian reasons. Thats bullshit, and you know it.

    The fact of the matter is that the US does not care one iota about Arab lives. It doesnt. It cares about its interests. Its interests are oil. Its interests are a foothold in the region, for oil. Its interests are hushing up anyone who disagrees that it should be there, for oil. Those are its goals. And it will sacrifice anyone – anyone for those goals.

    Iran talking smack during the 80s to the US? Good boy Iraq! Go get em! Yes yes Iraq, gas them too – good boy! Here have a cookie, support, and a visit from Rumsfeld.

    Iraq taking away US monopoly on oil in the region? Bad Iraq! Bad boy! Ooo! Im telling! Im telling on you! Hey everyone, Iraq is gassing people! Bad Iraq! Tyrrant Iraq!

    This is the hypocrisy that Arabs are simply sick of seeing, time and time again Ash. This is it. And its apologists like you, espousing lies like that, desecrating the dead in this manner – that fuel the fire – as if the US gave two damns about anyone’s life in the region sans Israeli ones.

    You disgust me.

    -Ibn

  72. ash says:

    @ Anonny et al – I’m not “patronising” anyone. The patronising stance is the one that endlessly indulges the sort of nihilistic paralysis that results from seeing oneself as forever acted upon and reactive, never proactive.

    The Arab and Muslim world will have to find its own path into a better future but one thing is for sure: blaming the outside world (the US, the West) for everything isn’t it, and neither is waiting and waiting until the conditions are right because they will never be right. Japan is a good example of how a culture can adapt itself and rebuild after absolute catastrophe and breakdown, retaining its own distinctive cultural character whilst at the same time reinventing itself as required. The Arab world will have to find its own way but there is no reason why it cannot do as countries such as Japan, South Korea, China etc have done.

    Arabs, and Muslims in general, are every bit as capable of reforming their world as anyone else. But they won’t do it if this climate of embittered fatalism persists, and it doesn’t do anyone any favours to pander to such a mindset.

    @ Ibn – actually the major allies and trading partners of Iraq during the Saddam era were the USSR and France, not the USA. Oh, and the rest of the Arab world.

  73. Mahmood: “Ah, ok then… now you’ve amply proven – as if that was required – that you have no shame whatsoever, and for that I don’t think there is any security system in the world that would prevent you from once again making a fool of yourself.”

    That’s not the jolly Mahmood I’ve come to know and love. However, since I am much more fond of you than you are of me, I must admit that I came back through no technical genius of my own. You know this website stuff far better than me. I chanced to click on a link to your site in Saudi Jeans and discovered it worked. My guess is that the referring link was Saudi Jeans, which you haven’t blocked, rather than the IP addresses I usually use, which you have blocked.

    I suppose I could have gotten in by going to one of those websites out there made to disquise your origin, but I’m too lazy. Quite frankly, I’m surprised that it’s not possible to secure a website. Couldn’t you just block my sign in? Anyway, I’m spilling the beans in the spirit of full disclosure.

    I’ve also decided that my knowledge of the Arab world and Islam has been acquired far too indirectly, so I’m coming to the Middle East this year on a pleasure trip to see the people face to face and see what they’re about.

    Now don’t go baking cakes and planning a big party. I’m not coming to Bahrain. I’m just gonna slip in and slip out quietly, see the sights, talk to people, see what’s what. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn something.

  74. My goodness, Mahmood. After scanning this thread I have no idea why you have singled me out for censure. The posters on this thread make me sound like the voice of reason. The whole thread has jumped the tracks into recrimination.

  75. Hamad: “Well they know we have some more cash these days because of oil prices and they just want us to spend it in worthless things because if we dont it will help us in developing our economey which they hate us to do.”

    Not true, Hamad. Undeveloped countries serve nobody’s interests. They don’t produce goods and services we can buy, they don’t have money to buy our goods and services, and they suck up resources. Most of the oil-producing countries are tyrannies, a low form of government, because no matter what mistakes the tyrants make, that oil revenue props them up. Saudi Arabia hardly ever makes a correct decision but remains afloat on a gusher of petrodollars. You can see Venezuela regress now. No matter how many foolish decisions Chavez makes, the oil will cushion him from the effects of his mistakes.

    There is a saying in aerodynamics that if you put a big enough engine on anything, it will fly. Likewise, if you put big enough oil deposits under a tyranny, it will function despite its faults. Oil deposits tend to infantilize governments.

    It would be far better for the oil-producing countries to develop their economies so that they are diversified into other industries which develop a professional class of managers. Those industries will thrive or flop in reaction to the decisions, good and bad, of the government, so that the government may mature from its lessons learned.

  76. Mahmood: “Why is it so difficult for grown men – those we choose to call “our leaders” – to engage, sit around a table with a genuine will to solve problems rather than exacerbate them? Is it too difficult to comprehend that discussing regional problems sincerely provides lasting peace much more than whatever weapons could provide?”

    It’s the Prisoner’s Dilemma on a grand scale. Each player maximizes his personal payoff by defecting rather than cooperating. The cure is building group loyalty and trust.

  77. Ibn: “Hmm, lets see – when your prior (yet typical in this respect) US government as well as that of Britain drew up plans for the ‘Invasion of Arab oil fields’ in 1973 during the oil crisis, coupled with their actions henceforth, this I think gives us all right to claim that we are in the bitch camp, just as you people would want it.”

    The Pentagon makes contingency plans for every possibility, however remote. You’re mistaking a contingency plan for an intent to attack. Back in the 1930s, the Pentagon had a plan for attacking England, which was also a farfetched contingency.

    Yeah, Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado shot off his mouth on radio about nuking Mecca. That’s why we have 535 representatives, to stop each other from doing something stupid. Even though Islam is in disrepute in America, everyone but the lunatic fringe recognizes this as foolish talk for which Tancredo has been ridiculed in the media.

    Robert Spencer is right to say nuking Mecca wouldn’t work. If a state makes a nuclear attack on America, we should make the nuclear counter-attack on them. Mecca doesn’t enter in the matter. And Americans don’t do religious wars or really give a damn about Mecca. It just doesn’t mean anything to us.

    However, you are right that there is a a small portion of Americans who talk about nuking Mecca. It’s an emotional reaction to Sep 11 et al. But then, “Death To America” is written on the Pillars of Mina out there in Mecca every year during the Hajj, isn’t it? When you make America your Great Satan, it tends to invite a response in kind.

    Ibn: “It is no secret that 1 in 4 Americans view Muslims in their midst as ‘unfavorable’ – similar statistics of Muslim views of Americans overseas would be considered ‘jihadist’ or if we are talking about Israelis, ‘anti-semetic’. But in the US its acceptable because well, you see, ‘we’ bombed the towers right?”

    You’re making a bogus moral equivalence. Americans have a negative opinion of Muslims because of their behavior, starting with Sep 11 but continuing through the discovery that Muslims celebrated those deaths, that they are preaching the destruction of America in the mosques here, that a terror plot is uncovered about once every month including Muslims, that 80% of the mosques have been radicalized and all of them sport Wahhabi hate literature, and that Saudi Arabia passes out tourist brochures reminding Muslims that it is their religious duty to hate America.

    Ibn, would you have a warm and fuzzy feeling about Americans if the US embassy handed out brochures reminding tourists to hate Bahrain? What if we set up American schools there which taught kids that they should not take Muslims as friends, that it was OK to steal from and hurt Muslims, and that eventually we would rule Bahrain with Muslims as our subjects with no rights we are bound to respect? There’s one of those Muslims schools teaching that curriculum within five miles of my home.

    The fact is, Muslims have earned their bad reputation here. If they gave up the wacky idea that they are going to overturn our democracy and replace it with Sharia law, if they loosened up and gave up their intolerance of all things non-Muslim, if they just decided to live and let live and be our friends and neighbors, they would be better received and improve their reputation.

  78. mahmood says:

    My guess is that the referring link was Saudi Jeans, which you haven’t blocked, rather than the IP addresses I usually use, which you have blocked.

    A lot more can be done had I wished to excommunicate you or anyone else for that matter, but I can’t be fussed about it. If history teaches us anything, you will soon make a fool of yourself once again, but I would be happy to be proven otherwise.

    I’ve also decided that my knowledge of the Arab world and Islam has been acquired far too indirectly, so I’m coming to the Middle East this year

    I do hope that you will have planned this trip with an open mind, rather than to trouble yourself just to find issues which solidifies your thwarted views of us and our culture.

    In true Arab hospitality; however, let me welcome you to our physical environs. May your stay be pleasurable and your discussions with our compatriots enlightening.

  79. a reasonable man says:

    Greetings. As this is my first post, let me start with a few words about myself. I’m an American who’s had the privilege to live in three other countries, including Bahrain—which incidentally was my favorite. I’ve also lived in seven different states across the USA. I like to think that I’ve learned something everywhere I’ve lived and I hope I can live up to my chosen user name.

    I’ll begin with a fairly bald statement. “Steve the American” seems to be rather an idiot. If you really want to get people to listen to your point of view, presenting yourself as a condescending know-it-all jerk is probably not the best strategy. Furthermore, insulting the host of the site is not just counterproductive it’s plain bad manners. Now despite my observation that Steve seems to be rather a fool, I fully support his right to air his opinions and am delighted that Mahmood has provided this forum in which Steve, other fools, and a goodly number of apparently thoughtful folks from around the world can converse. I also agree with the approach that Mahmood seems to be taking toward Steve. I believe that it was Will Rogers who recommended “never argue with a fool, observers may not be able to tell which one is which.” Of note, when I lived in Bahrain such free intercourse would have been much more challenging, perhaps even impossible. But back to my point, unfortunately it looks like my countrymen (is countrypersons more politically correct?) have tended to look more like the former (fools) and less like the latter (reasonable people). Hence this post.

    Steve’s bad manners and arrogance were particularly disturbing to me as he does make a couple of points that I think are worth discussing. As the saying goes, even a stopped clock is right twice a day. I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of the group on the following two observations:

    1) Ibn’s assertion, “Hmm, lets see – when your prior (yet typical in this respect) US government as well as that of Britain drew up plans for the ‘Invasion of Arab oil fields’ in 1973 during the oil crisis, coupled with their actions henceforth, this I think gives us all right to claim that we are in the bitch camp, just as you people would want it”, seems rather flawed to me. A contingency plan from 34 years ago that was never executed hardly seems a solid reason to condemn the U.S. today; unless subsequent actions had really been in the same vein. Given that the U.S. had half a million troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and unchallenged air and sea superiority in early 1991, most of the world’s oil reserves could have been seized at that time–with no one in any position to stop us. There weren’t quite as many troops in the region in 2002-2003, but the air and sea domination was there and again there could have been no real opposition to U.S. military action. Yet in both cases oil fields were returned to their rightful owners as quickly as possible. Now when oil prices were low during the 1990s I can see a reasonable argument that U.S. pressure on GCC governments was keeping the price artificially low, but at the time it looked to me more like OPEC squabbling coupled with worldwide disruptions in demand. With oil prices at historic highs today, and the U.S. as a tremendous net importer, it’s really hard for me to see that we’ve made anyone our “bitch.” The argument that U.S. oil companies promote instability in oil producing countries in order to keep the price artificially high might be more reasonable, but that’s a whole different discussion.

    2) Steve’s other point that I think is worth discussing is the apparent double standard on idiotic political statements. I’d like to see the same condemnation of Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s repeated threats to “wipe Israel off the map” or “annihilate” the “Zionist regime,” as that heaped against Representative Tancredo’s foolish threat to nuke Mecca. Politicians all over the world say stupid things to appeal to their constituencies; but if you’re going to condemn one, you should condemn all.

    I’ve probably rambled longer than I should on my opening remarks–please forgive my enthusiasm; but I do look forward to a continuing discussion on these points.

  80. mahmood says:

    Welcome aboard reasonable man, you are more than welcome to continue to “ramble” though I would really hesitate to classify your thoughtful post as anything close to that.

  81. Mahmood: “A lot more can be done had I wished to excommunicate you or anyone else for that matter, but I can’t be fussed about it. If history teaches us anything, you will soon make a fool of yourself once again, but I would be happy to be proven otherwise.”

    Mahmood, a wise man said you should keep an open mind about these things.

    Mahmood: “I do hope that you will have planned this trip with an open mind, rather than to trouble yourself just to find issues which solidifies your thwarted views of us and our culture.

    In true Arab hospitality; however, let me welcome you to our physical environs. May your stay be pleasurable and your discussions with our compatriots enlightening.”

    There’s the jolly Mahmood I know, even though this welcome is given through gritted teeth. It’s true I have a generally negative view of Arabs, Muslims, and the Middle East as a result of Sep 11 and the train of events that have followed but I admit things may not be as uniformly and comprehensively bad as I thought. It’s more complicated than that. Direct observation is required.

  82. Reasonable Man: ““Steve the American” seems to be rather an idiot. … I believe that it was Will Rogers who recommended “never argue with a fool, observers may not be able to tell which one is which.” … unfortunately it looks like my countrymen (is countrypersons more politically correct?) have tended to look more like the former (fools) and less like the latter (reasonable people).”

    Hmmm, you think I’m an idiot yet you agree with everything I say and even improve on it. Instead of arguing with a fool like me, you agree with me. This really looks like a compliment disguised as an insult. How can you call yourself reasonable when you agree with a fool and an idiot like me? That’s the part that confuses me.

    That aside, you are quite right to point out that these criticisms of America lack merit. They seem to strain to make the case against America.

  83. mdc says:

    “Steve’s bad manners and arrogance were particularly disturbing to me as he does make a couple of points that I think are worth discussing”

    “But back to my point, unfortunately it looks like my countrymen (is countrypersons more politically correct?) have tended to look more like the former (fools) and less like the latter (reasonable people”

    “I’ll begin with a fairly bald statement. “Steve the American” seems to be rather an idiot. If you really want to get people to listen to your point of view, presenting yourself as a condescending know-it-all jerk is probably not the best strategy.”

    Why, a reasonable man, you sound like the very same know-it-all jerk that you are dumping on about bad manners and arrogance; are you sure you are not Steve’s father or at least some distant relative? :mrgreen: Personally, after years of reading Ibn and Steve comments, I think the two of them should have a thread/blog of their own to duke it out into eternity. Sorry, Ibn; my money is on Steve. You are just too easy, one sided and predictable.

    Steve,

    “I admit things may not be as uniformly and comprehensively bad as I thought”

    Can it be? 😯 You were joking right? No punch line????

    M

  84. mdc: “Why, a reasonable man, you sound like the very same know-it-all jerk that you are dumping on about bad manners and arrogance; are you sure you are not Steve’s father or at least some distant relative?”

    Good point, mdc. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear he was me. He may be my long lost eviler twin.

    mdc: “Personally, after years of reading Ibn and Steve comments, I think the two of them should have a thread/blog of their own to duke it out into eternity. Sorry, Ibn; my money is on Steve. You are just too easy, one sided and predictable.”

    MDC, your touching defense has brought tears to my eyes. I’ve never felt so loved.

    Steve: “I admit things may not be as uniformly and comprehensively bad as I thought”

    MDC: “Can it be? You were joking right? No punch line????”

    So the bartender said, “I was talking to the duck.”

    There’s your punch line. You’ll have to supply the joke in front of it.

    Yes, MDC, I was serious. It’s hard to see the entire elephant on a topic like this. Maybe I’ve only seen the tail and teeth. Time to test my perceptions against reality.

  85. mdc says:

    “MDC, your touching defense has brought tears to my eyes. I’ve never felt so loved.”

    Don’t get too comfortable; I’m sure JJ will pop up here fairly soon and bring you back to reality.

    “Time to test my perceptions against reality.”

    You are a smart guy and shouldn’t have to, but I am glad you are willing to try. Be sure to behave yourself; I don’t want to be reading about some white guy from America being thrown in the slammer for the rest of his life for ticking off all of the Middle East in person instead of via the net.

  86. MDC, MDC, MDC,

    Of course, you have to periodically test your perceptions against reality. Everybody needs to do that on every subject. Nobody captures reality perfectly. There is always distortion.

    However obnoxious I may seem on the Internet, I can assure you that I am a delight in person. Everybody loves Steve the American. Everybody! I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if every Arab I meet says the world would be a better place if more people were like Steve the American. What a wonderful guy!

  87. mdc says:

    Steve,

    It is an honest man who understands there is always distortion and seeks to understand for himself and for no other reason.

    Actually, I don’t find you to be any more “obnoxious” than some of the posters here in defending your point of view; perhaps a little to much generalization about Islam and Muslims and not knowing when to back off when warned. Sometimes less is better.

  88. Ibn says:

    Steve_The_Confederate, and Resonable Man,

    The Pentagon makes contingency plans for every possibility, however remote. You’re mistaking a contingency plan for an intent to attack. Back in the 1930s, the Pentagon had a plan for attacking England, which was also a farfetched contingency.

    You are the one attributing to me, that contingency plan = intent to attack. This is mis-atribution. It is afterall, a ‘plan’. What you cannot seem to grasp however, is that
    the article that has moral weight here is not the plan of an action, it is the actual action in question, plan or no plan.

    A thief might see you randomly and rob you. The fact that he might have actually sat down and concocted a plan over the weekend to do so makes it doubly worse.

    Thus, I would think the inherent argument here is self-evident Steve. But since this requires a certain level of abstraction, I will do you a favour and put it into even simpler, everyday terms:

    Plan 1 — Your neighbour has a contingency plan for rescuing you from a fire in your own home: Good.

    Plan 2 — Your neighbour has a contingency plan to steal your lawnmower from you after you state that he can no longer borrow it: Bad.

    Both actions are planned. One is good.

    The US contingency plan of 1973 involving the invasion and occupation of Arab land assuming the Arabs continued to refuse sale of their oil, is tatamount to robbery and blackmail to say the least, and correlates with Plan number 2 in the example above.

    Couple this with the military domination the US currently possesses in the Middle East, the audacity and will to actually concoct and even plan for such a robbery on this big a scale, and you get the Arabs being placed firmly into the bitch camp.

    The garbage of “Gee well gas is $3.0/gallon, how is the US possibly dominating?” is shortsighted. Just as you might give your pet dog a certain amount of slack on the leash to go sniff some bush, and dig some hole, you have the final say in the matter. You might grittingly tolerate your dog chasing some squirrel while your leash can still give some. You might not like it, but its tolerated.

    Should the dog try to over-extend his horizons however, you would pull him back – you have the final on the matter.

    In a similar vein, the current $3.00/gallon oil from Arab states is tolerated, but obviously not liked. But should the price go to $infinity/gallon, (which is the equivalent of a boycott), the US would invade and occupy said oil fields for itself, as its very moral contingency plans would indicate.

    The US doesnt like $3/gallon. But no action will be taken. The leash still has some slack.

    This, Steve-The-Confederate, is the reason. But as much as I despise doing your thinking for you, (for free), I cant complain. The entertainment is back.

    Robert Spencer is right to say nuking Mecca wouldn’t work.

    Of course it wouldnt work. Thats not the point. The point is that the American Right wing’s ‘analysis’ here doesnt even focus on the moral monstrosity of nuking Mecca and its inhabitants, and instead focuses on a strategic footnote on whether or not it will help/hurt America. As if nuking Mecca were or par with the impact raising import taxes would have. Disgusting. Not surprising though.

    … it tends to invite a response in kind.

    Hahaha! So said bin Laden.

    Muslims because of their behavior, starting with Sep 11 but continuing through the discovery that Muslims celebrated those deaths, that they are preaching the destruction of America in the mosques here, that a terror plot is uncovered about once every month including Muslims, that 80% of the mosques have been radicalized and all of them sport Wahhabi hate literature, and that Saudi Arabia passes out tourist brochures reminding Muslims that it is their religious duty to hate America.

    I know, I know, the evil Muslims again. ‘Come on Ibn! Show some understanding! We.. we… we got burned by you guys! Those poor Americans … they they…. they saw Muslims celebrate!’

    What amazes me Steve_The_Confederate, is how you will run and kneel before the rule of cause-and-effect in explaining American animosity towards Muslims, (well you see the reason is x y z..), but when that same cause-and-effect rule is utilized towards explaining why Arabs dont constitute your biggest fan base, it is altogether dismissed. Why is that?

    Ibn, would you have a warm and fuzzy feeling about Americans if the US embassy handed out brochures reminding tourists to hate Bahrain? What if we set up American schools there which taught kids that they should not take Muslims as friends, that it was OK to steal from and hurt Muslims, and that eventually we would rule Bahrain with Muslims as our subjects with no rights we are bound to respect?

    Why would you have to distribute litrature on not-respecting-the-rights-of-Arabs-and-Muslims if thats the way it currently is anyway?

    I love the “and we would rule Bahrain with Muslims as our subjects with no rights we are bound to respect”. hahahah! Dude! The 5th FLEET is stationed there. What rights are planned on being respected when contingency plans call for all out occupation of Arab states? What Arab/Muslim rights are being respected when the US pretty much gave birth to Israel and provides funding for its actions? Who do you think they are fighting? Camels? What Arab rights have been respected from day one by the US in the middle east? The rights of Arabs to give you oil without opening their traps to complain? Well maybe that right youve fought for, sure, Ill give you that. Otherwise, what?

    One of the biggest moral infraction occurs When material commodities, and their acquisition, begin to overule the naural rights of man Steve. In the middle east, this has been so from the 1930s. It finally caught up to the US in 2001.

    -Ibn

  89. a reasonable man says:

    Good day all, sorry for the delay in getting my second post out. I was baking cookies, no really I was…

    Steve,
    I’ll clarify my point as it seems to have escaped you. When I read your series of posts from 6-7 Aug my first reaction was dismay. I felt that you had taken a couple of valid concerns that I had with the posts of Ibn and others and buried them in an avalanche of jingoistic flag-waving pro-American statements. On top of the blanket defense of all things American, you threw in plenty of smart a$$ attitude and seemed to be mocking Mahmood. If you were really trying to convince an international audience to change their minds, I’d guess that you probably failed. You only managed to make me angry, and I’m one of your countrymen who already shared some of you opinions. If you were just trying to make people mad, you likely succeeded.

    mdc,
    As I admitted above, Steve’s posts made me angry and if my anger made me seem arrogant to you then I must beg your forgiveness. I would still be interested in hearing your reaction to the points I raised…

    Ibn,
    Thank you for your thoughtful reply to my first concern, but I must admit that I’m still not convinced. Yes a contingency plan to steal another nation’s resources is a bad thing, but it was 34 years ago and you’ve presented no evidence that similar sentiments exist today; and have not remarked at all on my assertion that the U.S. could have taken oil fields years ago. Your later statement about “The rights of Arabs to give you oil without opening their traps to complain?” seems flawed as well. As far as I know, nobody is giving oil away, merely selling at market value. So what’s to complain about?

    Cheers,
    arm

  90. Reasonable Man: “Steve,
    I’ll clarify my point as it seems to have escaped you. When I read your series of posts from 6-7 Aug my first reaction was dismay. I felt that you had taken a couple of valid concerns that I had with the posts of Ibn and others and buried them in an avalanche of jingoistic flag-waving pro-American statements.”

    What escapes me are the “jingoistic, flag-waving” statements which you cite. They don’t exist. As for being pro-American, I plead guilty with pride. I presented a simple defense of America. You, on the other hand, appear to interpret any defense of America as jingoistic flag-waving. That short defense of America seems like an “avalanche” to you. No doubt among your circle any defense of America is too much. I suspect that this warped and wrong reaction is the result of your unthinking leftist disposition which inclines you to treasonous prejudice against your own country. That’s hardly reasonable, man.

    Reasonable Man: “On top of the blanket defense of all things American, you threw in plenty of smart a$$ attitude and seemed to be mocking Mahmood.”

    Which is worse, blanket defense of all things American or blanket condemnation of all things American? The difference between you and I is that you object to the right of anyone to even defend America, while I, on the other hand, don’t dispute the right of anyone to criticize America but focus on rebutting it. Yours is the inferior position. You should change it.

    As far as smart ass attitude, once again, I’m guilty. I fear any trial here on Mahmood’s Den would attract far too many witneses for the prosecution and very convincing ones. I’d have to make a plea deal and throw myself on the mercy of the court. I can only thank goodness that I am guilty of only being a smart-ass, which sometimes has its charms and may bring a chuckle, rather than being tedentiously self-righteous like you, which is not charming at all.

    Mahmood and I have our disagreements, but basically he has a good heart. One of those disagreements is that he advocates free speech, a laudable goal, while at the same time banning those, like me, who speak too freely on his website. I chide him gently for that. Mahmood likes to run his website like a nice dinner party where people disagree a little but not so much that it descends into vitriol. All too often, I am the turd in the punchbowl of his party. I’m sure everyone can agree on that.

    Reasonable Man: “If you were really trying to convince an international audience to change their minds, I’d guess that you probably failed. You only managed to make me angry, and I’m one of your countrymen who already shared some of you opinions. If you were just trying to make people mad, you likely succeeded.”

    First, I’m not convinced you really are one of my fellow countrymen, not deep down in your heart.

    Second, making people mad is the inevitable result of any useful dialogue between people who disagree strongly. If you change your argument to always be agreeable, you’ll probably never say anything people find interesting enough to consider. You seem to prefer cocktail chatter to debate.

    Third, you are making the rather classic American liberal mistake of pandering to foreigners, seeking to ingratiate yourself by condemning your own country and praising theirs. Such condescension is a soft form of disprespect. These are educated, intelligent people who can take a strong opinion and make a thoughtful rebuttal with facts and evidence from their own, often radically different, perspective (except for Ibn, of course). You respect them more by stating your opinion unfiltered and taking their rebuttals seriously than by treating them as children in Halloween costumes.

  91. Ibn: “Steve_The_Confederate, The US contingency plan of 1973 involving the invasion and occupation of Arab land assuming the Arabs continued to refuse sale of their oil, is tatamount to robbery and blackmail to say the least,….”

    Ibn, thank for writing such a foolish post so easily rebutted. How well you have illustrated the depth of anti-American hatred in the Middle East and the lack of substance to that groundless prejudice when you spit venom at America for acts it never did, for plans it rejected out of hand.

    What if we applied the Ibn Rule of Guilt to our everyday lives? Every time you saw something in the store you wanted but could not afford, you’d be guilty of robbery. Every time a man saw a woman and had a dirty thought, he’d be guilty of rape. Ibn, if you really subscribe to this logic of yours, you must turn yourself in to the authorities immediately for all your many offenses of the mind. Tell them to lock you up and throw away the key for you are a menace to society.

    Mahmood, I’m afraid if Ibn’s Rule becomes the law of the land, you may have to share a jail cell with him because I suspect that you have lusted in your heart for one of those Formula One cars you can’t possibly afford.

    Ibn, I know that you think that you are insulting me by calling me a confederate, but it’s a rather incompetent insult. American conservative Republicans are Union people supporting the party of Lincoln. It doesn’t make sense. While I expect abuse from the likes of you, I expect such abuse to be competently executed. Yours is sadly lacking in this regard. I recommend you consult Jasra Jedi, who maintains the Gold Standard in this trade. Hers is much more indirect, silky, and intellectually complex. It’s art, really.

    Ibn: “A thief might see you randomly and rob you. The fact that he might have actually sat down and concocted a plan over the weekend to do so makes it doubly worse.

    Thus, I would think the inherent argument here is self-evident Steve. But since this requires a certain level of abstraction, I will do you a favour and put it into even simpler, everyday terms:

    Plan 1 — Your neighbour has a contingency plan for rescuing you from a fire in your own home: Good.

    Plan 2 — Your neighbour has a contingency plan to steal your lawnmower from you after you state that he can no longer borrow it: Bad.

    Both actions are planned. One is good.

    The US contingency plan of 1973 involving the invasion and occupation of Arab land assuming the Arabs continued to refuse sale of their oil, is tatamount to robbery and blackmail to say the least, and correlates with Plan number 2 in the example above.”

    That’s quite a damning indictment of America, except for the part about translating it into reality, where no invasion nor occupation occurred. In the real world, where you should visit, the Arab Oil Crisis resulted in no military action by America but rather a large transfer of wealth to the Arab oil-producing countries. In America, we quite reasonably thought that OPEC was guilty of sharp practice but that they were the rightful owners of their oil and could charge any price the market would bear.

    So, to apply reality to your analogy:
    That Thief America considered stealing the neighbor’s denied lawn mower but instead ponied up a billion dollars for it and the neighbor went on a spending spree, hiring gangs to kill the American and burn his house down.

    There is another lesson for America in this event as well. America built up the Saudi oil industry and the Saudi nation as well, making them stupendously rich. They returned the favor by using that industry to do harm to their benefactor. The lesson is that when you give a gift to the Saudis, they will use it as a weapon against you because you are not Muslim.

    Ibn: “Couple this with the military domination the US currently possesses in the Middle East, the audacity and will to actually concoct and even plan for such a robbery on this big a scale, and you get the Arabs being placed firmly into the bitch camp.”

    Is that the bitch camp where everyone puts on their Manolos and gathers up their Gucci bags to jump in their gold-plated Mercedes to shop at Prada?

    Steve: “Robert Spencer is right to say nuking Mecca wouldn’t work.”

    Ibn: “Of course it wouldnt work. Thats not the point. The point is that the American Right wing’s ‘analysis’ here doesnt even focus on the moral monstrosity of nuking Mecca and its inhabitants, and instead focuses on a strategic footnote on whether or not it will help/hurt America. As if nuking Mecca were or par with the impact raising import taxes would have. Disgusting. Not surprising though.”

    If your point were true, you would not need to exaggerate to make it. The right wing in America is not considering nuking Mecca. It’s loose talk by one congressman. It’s not as if we have a foreign policy of imposing our religion on the world by terror, like Saudi Arabia, for example.

    Ibn: “I love the “and we would rule Bahrain with Muslims as our subjects with no rights we are bound to respect”. hahahah! Dude! The 5th FLEET is stationed there. What rights are planned on being respected when contingency plans call for all out occupation of Arab states?”

    It is a measure of your paranoid delusion that you think the 5th Fleet is part of a crusade to convert Bahrain into a Christian state. In fact, it’s there to maintain the status quo where Bahrain determines its own affairs.

    Ibn: “What Arab/Muslim rights are being respected when the US pretty much gave birth to Israel and provides funding for its actions?”

    Actually, America had little to do with the creation of Israel. The Soviet Union was a much stronger supporter of Israel in its early years than America, which was rather negligent of it. However, Soviet life does not tempt Muslims like American life does, so they don’t get to be the Great Satan for the Muslim nutcases.

    Israel largely funds itself through its better organized economy and more productive democracy. It is entirely correct for America to support the only functional democracy in the Middle East and to defend itself against the murderous religious bigotry of its neighbors. Instead of seeking to perpetrate a second Holocaust in Israel, you should be seeking to emulate it. The first lesson you could learn is to abandon your Stone Age religious hatreds.

    Ibn: “One of the biggest moral infraction occurs When material commodities, and their acquisition, begin to overule the naural rights of man Steve. In the middle east, this has been so from the 1930s. It finally caught up to the US in 2001.”

    Actually, the lives of Saudis have been lifted up from apalling ignorance and poverty by America since the 1930s and delivered into the lap of luxury and unimaginable wealth. America has been Saudi Arabia’s biggest benefactor. There is no nation in human history which has benefitted more from another than Saudi Arabia has from America.

    However, placing billions of petrodollars in the hands of Saudis only amplified their hatred for the non-Muslim world and facilitated their evil impulses. It teaches us that no matter how well you treat Arab Muslims, they will hate you, seek to kill you because you are not Muslim. Hatred for the Other trumps every human virtue.

  92. a reasonable man says:

    Steve et al.

    I only have time for a single post before I leave town (and the internet) for a week, so let me try to be fairly comprehensive.

    Steve, “me thinks the lad doth protest too much.” Either you’re feeling that I may have a valid point, or you’ve got way too much time on your hands. Nevertheless, let me start with an apology; some of the factual inaccuracies that I associated with you as I typed my first post were actually written by others. Upon re-reading all your posts I think it’s your attitude and tone that really bothered me. But I will also take issue with three of your earlier points and one recent one.
    1) Your claim that selling weapons to Middle Eastern governments is not particularly challenging is valid, but doesn’t really address Mahmood’s point. Other than a few liberal nations in Western Europe, it’s not particularly difficult to sell weapons to any country on the planet. [As the world’s largest arm exporter, we ought to know.] And if you really believe that the GCC nations don’t receive significant pressure—both implied and overt—to “Buy American”, you’re delusional.
    2) By defending Mr. Spencer’s judgment on the efficacy of a nuclear attack on Mecca, you gave the idea intellectual validity. So even as you dismissed such as the talk as the ramblings of the lunatic fringe, you left the impression that it might be a good idea after all. That’s what probably set Ibn (and many others who read in silence) off. To then state that Americans don’t “give a damn” about Mecca, may also be true but your choice of words was sorely lacking in tact. {Now you’ve made it quite clear that you see tact as an overrated virtue and take pride in being the “turd in the punchbowl.” So be it, but it has been my experience over many years and in many places that your approach is ineffective. There’s a good reason that diplomatic negotiations are carried out in “cocktail party chatter.”}
    3) The statement that “80% of the mosques have been radicalized and all of them sport Wahhabi hate literature” is ridiculous. No Shia mosque is likely to contain anything from the Wahhabis and many Sunnis reject that point of view as well. Now this is unfortunately another case where I actually agree with your basic point. Far too many mosques and madrassas around the world accept money and literature from those who seek to export hate. But by making a blanket statement about all mosques, you take away from your credibility and weaken your argument.
    4) Finally, your recent statement that the U.S. had little to do with the birth of Israel is also technically correct but only half the story. Israel did indeed get by with little or no assistance from the U.S. for the first decade and a half or so, although it was really the UK, France, and West Germany that kept them afloat–the Soviets merely provided a steady stream of immigrants. However, since the 60’s U.S. support for Israel has been significant and single-minded; and since Camp David financially massive. The Israelis are not paying for the $3 billion dollars of weapons they’ll receive this year with their “better organized economy and more productive democracy”, U.S. taxpayers are.

    One final thought Steve, I’m choosing to take your use of the word “treasonous” and your questioning of my patriotism (or even my nationality) as part of your over the top approach to debate. I know how much I love my country and am proud of what I’ve done on her behalf. But if you really think that a sober thoughtful analysis of our country’s actions and policies constitutes treason, you’ve really misunderstood our nation’s greatest strength and I feel very sorry for you.

    Ibn,
    Despite Steve’s approach, he right in saying you still haven’t shown how U.S. military might has taken anybody’s oil away or how this long ago planning has caused any damage.

    Everyone,
    Please keep up the discussion. I look forward to checking back in next week.

    Cheers,
    arm

  93. Underthepalmtree,

    Are the Reasonable Man now Under The Palm Tree? The name change throws me, but who ever you may be I accept your apology. I’ve been known to get folks mixed up myself.

    Underthepalmtree: “1) Your claim that selling weapons to Middle Eastern governments is not particularly challenging is valid, but doesn’t really address Mahmood’s point. Other than a few liberal nations in Western Europe, it’s not particularly difficult to sell weapons to any country on the planet. [As the world’s largest arm exporter, we ought to know.]”

    On the contrary, most nations skimp on their defense. Western Europe has been happy to let their militaries fade into obsolescence and ineffectiveness, knowing America guarantees their defense, and spend their defense funds on bloated welfare states. Likewise, Canada isn’t much interested in buying weapons. New Zealand and Japan have understrength militaries.

    By contrast, Iraq had bought a stockpile of conventional munitions two thirds that of the US, a nation a dozen times bigger. Saudi Arabia is quite the spendthrift when it comes to purchasing high tech weapons, apparently just for the prestige of having them. The Arab nations are crazy-go-nuts for weaponry. I’m still wondering what Bahrain thinks it will do with its tiny squadron of F-16s.

    We’re the largest exporter of arms largely because we’re the largest exporter of everything, mostly because we make the best stuff. A moderate amount of arms spread around a region tends to make it safer. You might notice that countries which purchase American arms tend not to use them while those which buy Russian arms tend to put them to use as much as they can.

    Underthepalmtree: “And if you really believe that the GCC nations don’t receive significant pressure—both implied and overt—to “Buy American”, you’re delusional.”

    You might consider that the connected members of the families who run the GCC who demand huge bribes from American companies to make a sale are the ones applying the pressure.

    Underthepalmtree: “2) By defending Mr. Spencer’s judgment on the efficacy of a nuclear attack on Mecca, you gave the idea intellectual validity. So even as you dismissed such as the talk as the ramblings of the lunatic fringe, you left the impression that it might be a good idea after all.”

    Spencer said it wouldn’t work. I agreed it wouldn’t work. I can’t make it clearer than that. You have to look at my position in the fun house mirror to conclude I think it’s a good idea. It isn’t. It would accomplish nothing.

    Underthepalmtree: “That’s what probably set Ibn (and many others who read in silence) off.”

    Ibn needs no provocation to be set off. He’s self-detonating.

    Underthepalmtree: “To then state that Americans don’t “give a damn” about Mecca, may also be true but your choice of words was sorely lacking in tact.”

    It is a bald statement of fact. Muslims project their own religious bigotries on Americans. They think Americans are their mirror images, reciprocating their prejudices. They want to conquer the world for Islam and so naturally think we want to conquer the world for Christianity. They want to make the Vatican into a mosque and so naturally think we want to make the Kaaba into a church.

    My statement that we don’t care about Mecca makes that point. America doesn’t care what religion anybody worships. If you want to worship UFOs, knock yourself out. We just don’t care, as long as you don’t screw with us. The Middle Eastern world just doesn’t get this. Because religion is such a large part of their lives, they think it must be the same for everyone else.

    Underthepalmtree: “3) The statement that “80% of the mosques have been radicalized and all of them sport Wahhabi hate literature” is ridiculous.”

    Those statements apply to US mosques, not mosques all over the world, which I did not make clear in my statement.

    Here is an article detailing how the Saudis have used money and a large supply of Wahhabi-trained imams to radicalize the overwhelming majority of US mosques. The details of the Wahhabi hate literature found in all US mosques is detailed in the Freedom House report, “Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Invade US Mosques.”

    Read and learn.

    Underthepalmtree: “4) Finally, your recent statement that the U.S. had little to do with the birth of Israel is also technically correct but only half the story. Israel did indeed get by with little or no assistance from the U.S. for the first decade and a half or so, although it was really the UK, France, and West Germany that kept them afloat–the Soviets merely provided a steady stream of immigrants. However, since the 60’s U.S. support for Israel has been significant and single-minded; and since Camp David financially massive. The Israelis are not paying for the $3 billion dollars of weapons they’ll receive this year with their “better organized economy and more productive democracy”, U.S. taxpayers are.”

    So you agree with me that the US had little to do with the birth of Israel but you disagree with me because later it did. Ibn said the US helped birth Israel. I forthrightly point out we didn’t, not that it would be a bad thing had we done so. Your rebuttal is confused.

    My point in correcting the record is that Ibn, like so many Arab Muslim demagogues, carelessly assigns everything he thinks bad to America.

    Underthepalmtree: “One final thought Steve, I’m choosing to take your use of the word “treasonous” and your questioning of my patriotism (or even my nationality) as part of your over the top approach to debate. I know how much I love my country and am proud of what I’ve done on her behalf. But if you really think that a sober thoughtful analysis of our country’s actions and policies constitutes treason, you’ve really misunderstood our nation’s greatest strength and I feel very sorry for you.”

    I’ll just have to learn to live with your sorrow.

    Unfortunately, the Left has castigated America for so long that it has acquired the topsy-turvy view that only criticism is patriotism. Thus, you were outraged when I defended America. Jingoistic flag-waving, you robotically called it. I recognize the boilerplate rhetoric of the intellectually snoozy Left. I’ve heard it all before, including the earnest claim that slandering America is an expression of the highest patriotism.

  94. mahmood says:

    ed note: comment 92 was mis-attributed to “underthepalmtree” while it should have been by “a reasonable man”. I have edited the author name and it show the correct attribution now.

  95. mahmood says:

    Mahmood and I have our disagreements, but basically he has a good heart. One of those disagreements is that he advocates free speech, a laudable goal, while at the same time banning those, like me, who speak too freely on his website.

    You might wear the fact that I banned you from my website as a badge of honour, I would rather regard is – as others do too – as one of shame Steven. What you did to be banned is just turned abusive without any regard whatsoever to the debate at hand.

    So do stop being so patronising. Your missives are looked at as just white noise and ignored by the majority of readers. Should you wish to change that to proper engagement of minds, you might want to re-evaluate your delivery methods, once again, to be more civil than what they are currently at.

    As much as you might want to believe your own paranoia, the world is not out to get you, nor is it out to get the beloved United States of America either.

  96. Mahmood: “You might wear the fact that I banned you from my website as a badge of honour, I would rather regard is – as others do too – as one of shame Steven. What you did to be banned is just turned abusive without any regard whatsoever to the debate at hand.”

    Mahmood, I don’t consider it as a badge of shame nor honor, but a sharp difference of opinion. As I recall, I was provoked by a Saudi who casually assumed that America would defend Saudi Arabia. The insufferable arrogance of that comment, that Saudis could butcher Americans and then call us to do their bidding, was too much.

    Mahmood: “As much as you might want to believe your own paranoia, the world is not out to get you, nor is it out to get the beloved United States of America either.”

    Mahmood, I will believe the Muslim world has given up its war on America and the West when terrorist plots cease to be uncovered or perpetuated. It’s only been about a month since Muslim doctors parked a bomb full of nails outside a London bar on ladies night. That bomb and the bomb they tried to drive through the front door of the airport terminal in Glasgow are not products of my paranoia. Nor is the latest terror video from Al Qaeda threatening to attack us. Again.

  97. mahmood says:

    that Saudis could butcher Americans and then call us to do their bidding, was too much

    You’re pandering to your double standards, surely. How do you stand on your government’s pending sale of some 20 billion dollars worth of kit to Saudi? Is that act not tantamount to a full declaration of the entrenched friendship between the two countries?

    That alone demonstrates your opinion is a rather isolated case.

    The United States of America will come to Saudi’s support whenever bid. And that’s about all there is to it.

    Ibn suggested above that the Arab (states) are America’s bitch. I must respectfully disagree, it is – in fact – the other way around.

    As to the various terrorist attacks, you should realise by now that those are not exclusive to the West, they actually are mounted in a much larger scale on a daily basis in our own countries too, be that Saudi, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and others. You delude yourself if you classify this terrorism is solely targeted at the West. It isn’t.

    The sooner you realise that terrorism does not have, nor does it respect, any religion, ideology or geographic location the better you will be. We are ALL affected by it and the sooner it is eradicated the better for the whole world it is.

    So remove the “me me” blinker and think of a global “us” to move forward.

  98. mdc says:

    a reasonable man,

    Sorry for not responding to your earlier posts; but while you were baking cookies, I was having appendicitis. Cookies are preferred any day.

  99. mdc says:

    Steve,

    Since pain meds are a wonderful thing, this won’t be very long. Mahmood is right. Everything is not about America which is and always has been your initial reaction to everything. Think about it.

  100. mahmood says:

    MDC, glad to have you back and thank goodness for your successful recovery.

  101. mdc says:

    Thanks, Mahmood.

  102. Ibn says:

    Steve The Confederate,

    What if we applied the Ibn Rule of Guilt to our everyday lives? Every time you saw something in the store you wanted but could not afford, you’d be guilty of robbery. Every time a man saw a woman and had a dirty thought, he’d be guilty of rape. Ibn, if you really subscribe to this logic of yours, you must turn yourself in to the authorities immediately for all your many offenses of the mind.

    You imply a foolish parallel between ordinary neural fluctuations of intention in a person’s brain signifying nothing but raw emotional wants and temporal lust, with a meeting and vetting out of an invasion plan among the highest levels of a nation-state’s government, involving said country’s 2 million or so of its armed forces, based on geo-political and strategic interests. A plan to do harm. A plan to invade and occupy.

    And to put the final damning nail on it – it wasnt even a retaliatory plan – it was a plan to occupy and rob, should a seller refuse to sell you his own goods.

    How does a freedom-loving country sanction the creation of such contingency plans to begin with, pray tell, Steve?

    That’s quite a damning indictment of America, except for the part about translating it into reality, where no invasion nor occupation occurred.

    For the plan to be transformed into full-blown action, it must have been met with specific requirements. The first of those requirements would be an indefinate and continous boycott of selling oil to the US by the Arab nations in response to its monstrous carte-blanche support of Israel.

    This was not so. The boycott effectively ended no more than 5 months later at the Washington Oil Summit of 1974. Furthermore, even if the US did intend to invade the very next day of the start of the boycott, it would have been impossible, as it would have taken more than 5 months to mobilize, prepare, justify, ship, invade and occupy a vast region’s many oil fields.

    In America, we quite reasonably thought that OPEC was guilty of sharp practice but that they were the rightful owners of their oil and could charge any price the market would bear.

    Former Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger would disagree with you Steve. If you had actually read the article and done some basic research, you would learn (god forbid) of the following:

    The document, titled “Middle East — Possible Use of Force by the United States,” says that if there were deteriorating conditions such as a breakdown of the cease-fire between Arab and Israeli forces following the October 1973 Middle East war or an intensification of the embargo, “we believe the American preference would be for a rapid operation conducted by themselves” to seize the oil fields.

    It cites a warning from Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger to the British ambassador in Washington, Lord Cromer, that the United States would not tolerate threats from “under-developed, under-populated” countries and that “it was no longer obvious to him that the United States could not use force.”

    The US would ‘not tolerate’ threats from those primitive dirty Arabs Steve. This from your own former members of government.

    Seizure of the oil fields, the memo says, was “the possibility uppermost in American thinking [and] has been reflected, we believe, in their contingency planning.”

    A plan drawn up at the ‘uppermost of American thinking’ hardly seems to be equivalent to lusting after a stripper as you implied earlier Stevo.

    U.S. officials at the time hinted that retaliation was possible but did not describe the form it might take. At a news conference on Nov. 21, 1973, Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger declared: “It is clear that if pressures continue unreasonably and indefinitely, then the United States will have to consider what countermeasures it may have to take.”

    Countermeasures, hmmm… what could they possibly be.. Oh I know! The US would refuse to import Arab dates! That’ll teach ’em! hahaha!

    So, to apply reality to your analogy:That Thief America considered stealing the neighbor’s denied lawn mower but instead ponied up a billion dollars for it and the neighbor went on a spending spree, hiring gangs to kill the American and burn his house down.

    As usual, a subtle yet vile lie that you have inserted into the heart of an otherwise good analogy: The US didn’t ‘pony up’ more money for his neighbour’s goods – instead, the neighbour simply ended his boycott – in reality, having occured as mentioned earlier in the Washington Oil Summit of March 1974.

    Should the neighbour have simply refused to maintain oil flow to the US indefinately as is certainly his right to do so however, then the US would have invaded and occupied, as Henry Kissinger himself tells us.

    Its from the horse’s mouth Stevo. You cant possibly get any more legit than that.

    Is that the bitch camp where everyone puts on their Manolos and gathers up their Gucci bags to jump in their gold-plated Mercedes to shop at Prada?

    People who have a choice in the shoes they wear but not their country’s own foreign policy? Umm… let me think about that… umm, Yes, thats the bitch camp.

    If your point were true, you would not need to exaggerate to make it. The right wing in America is not considering nuking Mecca. It’s loose talk by one congressman. It’s not as if we have a foreign policy of imposing our religion on the world by terror

    Of course you cant impose your religion on us. That requires a culture of spirituality not glutony.

    And what am I exxagurating about? The Arab-Muslim-laden hate speech on just about every conservative comments section in the US from LGF to Foxnews? If it were the reverse and from the Middle-East its considered ‘jihadi’. But when Americans say it, its patriotic. Go ahead. Defend them and prove my point. Come on. I know you’re itching for it.

    It is a measure of your paranoid delusion that you think the 5th Fleet is part of a crusade to convert Bahrain into a Christian state.

    HAhahahaha!! Yes Steve Yes! I, Ibn, think the US is out to Christianize the Middle East! hahahahahah! Come on Steve – who do you think I am? Ann Coulter? hahahaha

    Actually, America had little to do with the creation of Israel. The Soviet Union was a much stronger supporter of Israel in its early years than America, which was rather negligent of it. However, Soviet life does not tempt Muslims like American life does, so they don’t get to be the Great Satan for the Muslim nutcases.

    The British promised the Jews a national homeland in Palestine, and even they abstained from the UN vote of partition. What did the US do? And who has supported them since day one, and which president declared Israel to be a permanent friend of the US? A Soviet one? You fool Steve – at least learn to pick your battles so that you dont make as easy a mockery of yourself!

    The first lesson you could learn is to abandon your Stone Age religious hatreds.

    This probably has to be the most ridiculous comment you have made Steve, second only to your previous brainfart of ‘All Muslims are responsible for Sep11th’ which as I recall got you pretty well pigeon-holed. Please show that I have stone-age religious hatreds.

    It teaches us that no matter how well you treat Arab Muslims, they will hate you, seek to kill you because you are not Muslim. Hatred for the Other trumps every human virtue.

    … and that is why I call you a Confederate.

    Happy Hatin’! 🙂

    -Ibn

  103. Ibn,

    Your argument is so silly I don’t need to rebut it. I don’t think it even convinces the ordinary Abdullah on the street. If you want to beat up on America for all the things it didn’t do, go dig up some of those US military plans for defending against a space alien invasion. That oughta keep you busy.

  104. MDC: “Since pain meds are a wonderful thing, this won’t be very long. Mahmood is right. Everything is not about America which is and always has been your initial reaction to everything. Think about it.”

    MDC, who else is the Great Satan to Muslims other than America? What other countries are wished death on the pillars of Mina? What other countries are castigated in mosques around the world? When countries mismanage themselves, who do they blame for their mess?

    Since foolish slander of America is so common, I’m happy to be the only one to make a defense of my country if nobody else steps up.

    Glad to hear you are recovering though not happy to hear you need pain meds. I’m hoping they scoped you on your appendectomy so that you’re on your feet quick. Don’t rush it, though.

  105. Ibn says:

    Steve_The_Confederate,

    Your argument is so silly I don’t need to rebut it.

    ‘Cant’ and ‘Wont’ are different words.

    If you want to beat up on America for all the things it didn’t do..

    Oh? …and am I alone Steven?

    Afterall, wasnt it you who chastized and held all Muslims responsible for acts they didnt commit (Sep11th) and for protests they didnt take part in condemning that which they did not do to begin with?

    The almighty Steve holds Muslims responsible for acts they didnt commit – not even knew or planned about – yet we cannot hold the US accountable for plans it created but also never excecuted?

    *chuckle* How easily you show yourself to be a hypocrite Steve. In plain sight, open and naked for all to see. Are you not ashamed?

    We only expect to hear this type of hypocrisy on:

    1) Comedy Central
    2) History of the 50s and 60s.
    3) You.

    Lets face it Steve. Your thinking is old. Obselete. Last year’s model. You’re part of the Old Guard. No one pays attention to you on your own blogs, so you come here, even in defiance of Mahmood’s banning you just to argue with me, a kid really. Im flattered. No really, honestly, I really am.

    You cant even tell the difference between freedom of association on ones own private property (Mahmood banning you from his privately owned blog), and freedom of speech as a right in relation to government censorship. Because of this you chastize Mahmood for banning you and dare yell that he ‘is not respecting freedom of speech’.

    America is a great country, You however, are a horrible person.

    Seeing as how you are wrong on so many things in the past, one is not particularly inclined to agree with any future analysis you make. But dont stop yourself. Everyone needs a good laugh.

    -Ibn

  106. mdc says:

    Steve,

    Unfortunately no scope, but thanks for the concern and kind thoughts.

    I have to admit I have been surprised and pleased at Americans perceptions and comments about their country on this blog over the last few years; it seems much more based in reality which is a good thing. Told you before, I love that you defend America. I just think you have to be careful in the way you do it because you tend to generalize a lot and you turn every conversation into an America issue just like Ibn does. It gets old and not necessary. Ibn’s debating style is predictable, and unfortunately I read his comments for amusement content only; I don’t take them seriously anymore. Like you, I think he does his side of the argument more harm than good and only further widens the gap between issues and people.

    Nap time.

  107. Aliandra says:

    Ibn;

    I challenge you again to provide counter evidence in support of your hypothesis that the Arab/Muslim state of mind in this respect is based on an unsubstantiated and hysterical ‘culture complex’, and not on decades worth of learnt experience, suspicion, and betrayal

    For counter evidence, simply re-read my post. Pay close attention to quotes copy/pasted from people earlier on this thread – posters who blame America for everything from too many crows to ‘getting a kick out of watching Arabs fight.’ That’s a world-view informed by paranoia, not empirical reality.

    This sort of hysterical scape-goating does not exist in Latin America, people whose countries have been most f**ked-over by the United States. They don’t hold Washington responsible for every burnt out light bulb and clogged up sink. They know when the US is to blame and when it is not. A lot of folks in the mid-east need to ditch the silliness and do the same.

  108. Ibn,

    Call Islamic Rage Boy and tell him you want his job.

  109. mahmood says:

    Crumbling already Steve?

  110. Mahmood,

    I want to make a longer response to you but I’ve been travelling a lot this week and can only manage short answers at the moment. I just don’t have time to waste on Ibn. Even if I wasn’t occupied with trains, planes, and automobiles as I am now, I’d rather spend the hour spent replying to Ibn’s nonsense on learning WordPress.

  111. Ibn says:

    Aliandra,

    posters who blame America for everything from too many crows to ‘getting a kick out of watching Arabs fight.’ That’s a world-view informed by paranoia, not empirical reality.

    I also asked you to remove the wheat from the chaff Aliandra.

    I cannot defend the words of loons. Just as I do not ask you to defend the words of mental patients, so too, do not expect me to defend the words of some loon who believes, the butterfly effect aside, that America maliciously breeds crop-eating-crows.

    Think over this if you wish to understand please:

    What is the Arab-American dynamic at its heart? At its heart, its a relationship. And like all relationships, whether they are personal, romantic, professional and the like, there is always a universal common denominator: Trust. (I will get back to this).

    Put very simply, the Arab world does not trust the West in general, and the US in particular. The next question becomes why is this so?

    The answer spans many events, many centuries, and many issues. Unlike your Latin-American example where US influence was quick, discrete and short-lived, the US influence and involvement in the middle east has been much longer, continuous, and prevalent. This is one primary reason. Also unlike your Latin-American example, the US supported and continues to support a nation-state that the Arab world found dumped in its door-step – a catastrophe that shook the core of the Arab-Muslim world on so many levels, that such a parallel in magnitude is simply not to be found anywhere in Latin America. Within the context of the Arab world, it probably parallels the Crusades themselves. (Another Arab-Western conflict further showing the age of this contentious relationship).

    Furthermore, I beleive that you need to be clear as to what you mean when you state “You blame us for everything.” What constitutes everything? A flat tire on the streets of Cairo, or the geo-political situation in the Middle-East? Like it or not, your country is heavily vested in this region, so it is only natural that in 95% of political discussions the US name will show up. And as to the nature of the discussion, it is probably safe to say that 95% of Arabs are unhappy with their leaders. I think you see the connection.

    The best analogy I can offer is that of a personal/romantic relationship: Here you have a couple, where the man has been caught cheating. The woman never saw it coming.

    Now, in light of this knowledge, events that would otherwise seem innocent before, suddenly seem conspiratorial to her. Whether or not the husband has cleaned up his act is irrelevant – if he really is staying at work late, the wife simply cant help but to suspect that he is seeing someone else. In her head, she will begin to make otherwise silly correlations – the hubby is taking her out more simply to lower her guard so that she will not suspect anything … or she might see the hubby’s new purchase of a cologne as something to mask the perfume of his mistress – even though the husband just so happens to like Calvin Klein’s latest men’s line.

    Now are her thoughts on this subject entirely loony? Well thats a loaded question. You can see where they are coming from, whereas you might not necessarily agree with them. Often times, the former insight is enough to label the action – her suspicion – as justified.

    In effect, the price the husband has to pay for cheating is not simply putting up with his wife’s complaints against that action – but now, he has to accept that she will assume he is guilty until proven innocent, by virtue of lost trust – a trust that he himself destroyed.

    That is the price to pay for the betrayal of someone’s trust. In this vein, you cannot ask that you be given the benefit of the doubt anymore. The husband has to now work doubly hard to build that trust.

    Is the wife right in her kooky correlations and conspiracy theories? Maybe, maybe not. But is she justified in assuming them? 100%, yes.

    That is the parallel that you must understand, Aliandra.

    A fair question you might put forward is “What are those events that the Arab world saw as betrayal by the West?”. Summarily, there are many, starting from European Imperialism, to the French Colonization attempt of Algeria, to Israel, to the Sykes-Picot agreement, etc. I urge you to research them if you are indeed interested, in order to get a continuous picture of where this mistrust stems from.

    -Ibn

  112. Ibn says:

    Steve_The_Confederate,

    Ibn,
    Call Islamic Rage Boy and tell him you want his job.

    This reminds me of a Simpson’s episode Stevo.

    In this one episode, Bart was trying to intricately explain something to his pet dog, but the dog just stood there starring, and oblivious.

    They quickly zoom in towards the wide-eyed dog’s head as if going into his brain, and then provide a black-and-white view from the dog’s eyes of the world, where although Bart’s words were very rational and consistent to human ears, all the dog could hear from Bart’s moving mouth was “Blah blah blah … blah blah… blah blah blah! Blah!”

    Funny how some animals confuse logical discourse with that of random raging ramblings eh Stevo? lol 🙂

    -Ibn

  113. Aliandra says:

    Ibn;

    the US supported and continues to support a nation-state that the Arab world found dumped in its door-step – a catastrophe that shook the core of the Arab-Muslim world on so many levels, that such a parallel in magnitude is simply not to be found anywhere in Latin America… it probably parallels the Crusades themselves

    Too bad the Arab-Muslim world isn’t made of sterner stuff. During all the conflicts of the last century, many countries got absorbed, redrawn, moved about, etc, usually without their peoples consent. Pakistan broke off from India, the Turks were stripped of their empire, Germany lost one third of its land to Poland and millions of Germans were forced to move west. Everyone has gotten on with their lives. Modern Germans don’t commemorate a ‘Nakba’, nor are they obsessed with driving the Poles to the sea. The Arabs are hardly the only ones so offended but they seem to be the only ones still stuck on past losses. Grow up and get over it like everyone else.

    The Mongols did more damage to the medieval Muslim kingdoms than the failed Crusades. But if those cantankerous crusaders are still keeping you up at night, take Steve’s advice. Send Mr Bhat a resume (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakeel_Bhat). Remind him of the fall of Granada too.

  114. Ibn says:

    Aliandra,

    Too bad the Arab-Muslim world isn’t made of sterner stuff.

    Aliandra, it would seem that its the US itself who is the emotional knee-jerk reactionary force here: Kill 3000 of their civilians on a Tuesday morning, and they go ape-shit scared and blow their wad half way across the middle east.

    And before that when the US lost 2500 military personel it didnt hesitate to kill ten times that figure in a double nuclear holocaust.

    So to reverse your own argument: Why cant the US be more like Germany? Or Poland? Afterall, they lost millions of people over a decade to say the least, but you dont see them parading across the 7 oceans do you? Hmm? Come on – cant the US take a punch or two like the rest of the world without ‘losing it’ and going ballistic? Cant the US be made of sterner stuff?

    Gosh you’re funny.

    Whats that saying from the Bible – ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone’.

    Grow up and get over it like everyone else.

    Call me when you get over Sep11th.

    But if those cantankerous crusaders are still keeping you up at night, take Steve’s advice. Send Mr Bhat a resume (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakeel_Bhat)

    …You… you have a milk bowl with your name on it too? … Nooooo!! hahaha

    -Ibn

  115. mahmood says:

    Aliandra, was it right or wrong that Israel “was dumped” on our doorstep? Just answer the moral question here without any sideway distractions.

  116. Aliandra says:

    Mahmood;

    It was a bad and wrong idea, absolutely. But history is full of those. Others have suffered the same or worse as a result of the wars of the 20th century, losing more territory or seeing it taken by foreigners. They’ve moved on, not kept a 60 year old territorial loss still stuck in their peoples’ throats.

    Ibn;

    All hysterics aside, you need to differentiate between old wrongs and recent ones.

  117. mahmood says:

    you need to differentiate between old wrongs and recent ones.

    That’s the crux of the matter I think Aliandra, if it’s taken in historical context, the take-over of Palestine only happened a few minutes ago! Okay, let me not be so facetious; there are still people living who remember that day and some who have been chased out of their homes and country. So the wound is still fresh and raw, that generation is still amongst us, you can’t expect them to just forget about it and move on.

    Even without that, a wrong is a wrong even after a million years and the only way for reparation is to correct it.

    I understand that the situation is quite complex, but when you boil it down, there is a complete absence of justice as far as the Palestinian people are concerned. Until justice is restored, this problem is not going to go away, be that in 10 or 1000 years.

    Just put yourself in the following situation: someone comes and forcibly evicts you from your home. How long are you prepared to fight until you call it quits and move on with your life?

  118. Aliandra says:

    Mahmood;

    How far back do we go to correct wrongs? Everyone’s ancestors were doing bad things to everyone else’s ancestors for thousands of years. It would be a logistical nightmare!

    I agree that current injustices in the Israeli-Palestinin conflict needs to be addressed – this is essential. But if I may point out, the majority of Palestinian ‘refugees’ alive today have not been evicted from anywhere. They are the children or grandchildren of the original evictees. They are hardly the only descendants of people forced out as a result of 1940s turmoil – and these number in the millions indeed.

    All those other refugees have been resettled and they and their children given citizenship and new lives in new places. None were kept in squalid camps for decades to be used for propaganda. Lebanon must give their Palestinians citizenship. The rest must realize that any ‘return’ will be to a future Palestinian state, not Israel, and to work toward that state as a realistic goal instead of drowning the Jews in the drink. Arab societies (and Ibn especially) need to stop belaboring the 1940s and focus on improving the present. I know some already are.

  119. madmilker says:

    I am watching this with increasing fear for the last 5o years.

    me too! like Ramesses II said….dang if you can’t whip their a!! join their class!

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