Terrorism pays

23 Aug, '07

Mohammed Khalid, that effervescent Islamist MP, wants to gift the five erstwhile Guantanamo detainees BD50,000 (~US$132k) as a “for the suffering and torture they were forced to endure in the US prison camp“.

Huh? Oy! Bub! Listen: when we defended their right to a fair trial we didn’t sign up to make them the luminaries of society. Those men chose to go into a war zone to do goodness’ knows what and they might have participated in terrorism and terrorist activities. These things we will never know now because a trial was not forthcoming and the chat they had with the public prosecutor on their arrival home was not published – as it should have as we have a right to know.

Now you just want to cut them a blank cheque from my money? No way smartypants. They do not deserve this magnanimous gesture of yours. If you want to give them money from your own pocket then that’s completely up to you, but don’t lumber the country with yet another bill just to polish your name in your own circles. This is just not on. And if Saudi chooses to give its own citizens money, a car and even pay for their wedding just because they were in Gitmo for a while, that’s completely up to them and it doesn’t concern us, but don’t you bloody well dare to pull that stunt here boyo.

If the parliament really adopts this brainfart it is as if they accept and even condone terrorism. It is tantamount to announcing to the world that terrorism pays! Wasn’t it you and your ilk who fully supported the Law Against Terrorism in parliament? Whatisitwijyouboy? Double standards is your way of life?

Listen, they made their own beds and now they should bloody well lie in them. They are now free and not thanks to your “efforts” but that of the BCHR primarily and their activist US lawyers. You jammed yourself right in the middle for your own political gains and most certainly not theirs.

So get off that high horse of yours and don’t go throwing money hither and thither, your job as an MP is to ensure that that does not happen not aid and abet it for God’s sake. Get a life will ya!

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Comments (122)

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  1. Nawaf says:

    Mahmood,

    1) “Some” of these Bahrain guys REALLY did go to Afghanistan for humanitarian purposes. There is no denial, they suffered unjustified tremendous mental and physical abuse in Guantanamo and their families suffered a great deal to. Some of these families were left living on social welfare and kind peoples’ charities. Yes, I believe their statements to the public prosecutor should be published. Yes, I believe that these peoples’ intentions in visiting Afghanistan should be investigated to reveal if they pose a threat to our national security. Nevertheless, since the US government is clearly not offering any compensation to these victims for their potentially wrongful imprisonment all these years, the Bahraini government should help in some way with these individuals’ rehabilitation to society

    2) According to our political/economic system in Bahrain. Whatever the government gives to us (citizens of Bahrain) is هبات or مكارم ملكية. I guess the downside of not paying taxes in Bahrain is that technically, if the government decides to give these people money it will definitely not be your money. You can argue that the money could have been better spent building houses or alleviating poverty, but that’s about as far as your argument goes.

  2. ammaro.com says:

    I just wrote about this today morning. It’s ridiculous and frustrating just the fact that we have to deal with him SAYING THOSE WORDS. If the Saudi govt want to do something, well they can bloody well go ahead; their people are generally well-off and happy, not here were a large percentage of the population are financially screwed.

    And terrorist suspects? Seriously? THOSE are the people you want to compensate? How about you compensate me for the hard work i’ve done trying to help build this country, you frickin ass?

  3. doncox says:

    “”Some” of these Bahrain guys REALLY did go to Afghanistan for humanitarian purposes. “_____Is there confirmation of that from the organisations they went with (Red Crescent or whatever)? My opinion is that Gitmo is a Prisoner-of-War camp and the prisoners should be kept there until the war is over, and treated according to the Geneva Convention.

  4. Capt. Arab says:

    It’s high time someone jammed the idea into the head of MP’s that money is not the answer to all our problems. The objective is to secure guidelines, agreements in place so that such an incident should not get repeated. Our honourable MP, has just jumped on the band-wagon, expecting a free ride. If he has the power to convince/bend the law for those kinds of payments, then maybe he used utilize his expertise in more objective causes that serves all Bahraini’s as a nation.

  5. Anon2 says:

    Hmmmm. How much is the ticket Bahrain-Afghanistan economy one way?

    Knee deep in loans with low pay and raising prices and all that, BD50,000 would do allot to me.

  6. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? 😐

    *One in a Million on her way to Afghanistan*

  7. ammaro.com says:

    I think the demand for Gulf Air flights to Afghanistan is set to increase.

    Hello?

    (Person on phone replies)

    I’m good thanks. One way ticket to Afghanistan, please.

    (Person on phone replies)

    What? You don’t fly to Afghanistan?

    (Person on phone replies)

    Blub. Bye.

    (Hang up phone)

    Dammit. Gulf Air fails us once again. I’ll try Air Arabia

  8. Maroon Irras says:

    I would beg to differ: –
    The Kingdom of Bahrain had failed to protect its citizen, in whose favour stands a whole load of evidence that theirs was wrongful jail in Guantanamo by the US authorities.
    Neither the Kingdom state, nor its topmost officials, nor their connections with masters of the whole show nor any citizens or any group of them were able to secure the release any earlier of those wronged, fellow citizens. Your wish to deny that and to dub them as ‘terrorists’, only because someone was more sympathetic towards them is both regrettable and familiar from you Mahmood.
    Would you rather they found themselves penniless and involved in crime, God forbid?
    Now the amount asked may be too large. I can grant the we can differ on what’s enough (or whether each case is bona fide eligible for financial support). But we ought not differ on there being for them a form of compassionate support, including financial support, where necessary and as reasonably deserved.

  9. Merlin says:

    Please read my response to this joke on ammaro’s blog.

    I can only re-iterate here that these people should be disowned as Bahrainis and stripped of their citizenship. Terrorism and Bahraini are INCOMPATIBLE. I refuse to be associated with these people by name and by citizenship! NOT IN MY NAME!

  10. mahmood says:

    Whatever the government gives to us (citizens of Bahrain) is هبات or مكارم ملكية.

    Not true. We do pay taxes, check the Constitution? Makramah and royal gifts; however, are not and are personal things which could be done by the king at his pleasure. Therefore, if we do pay taxes – regardless of the amount – and as all Funds and Natural Resources are the property of the State which means they are owned by the citizens, then all money disbursed by the government must be approved by the people; and that is what parliament is (should be) doing when they approve budgets and final accounts.

    There is no denial, they suffered unjustified tremendous mental and physical abuse in Guantanamo and their families suffered a great deal to.

    Yes, I totally agree. But as we do not know definitively their culpability in terrorist activities, they might have meted out the very same abuse to victims of their deeds in Afghanistan and probably other places. That is why they should have immediately been put on trial when they arrived in Bahrain and their cases investigated and appropriate punishment or otherwise handed to them. If they are indeed proven innocent, then they should take the US government to International Court, not have some MP wanting to take away from the national budget in order to ameliorate his own feelings of inadequacy.

  11. mahmood says:

    whole load of evidence that theirs was wrongful jail in Guantanamo

    SHOW ME THE MONEY as the great poet Tom Cruise said. This is simple conjecture from you rather than an accepted fact. With the absence of a fair trial, we will never know the level of their culpability in terrorism.

    Your wish to deny that and to dub them as ‘terrorists’, only because someone was more sympathetic towards them is both regrettable and familiar from you Mahmood.

    Show me where I called them terrorists.

    I could show you the countless times I have called for their release and just trial, but I never called them terrorists. Until they are adjudicated to be so, then they are not.

    They are unfortunate that they made the conscious choice by going into a war zone with all that entails in danger and death. No one forced them to do so. If they did go for humanitarian causes then I applaud them fully, but still they made their own conscious choice by doing so and if they did, they did not want nor wait for compensation, none from this life anyway.

    where necessary and as reasonably deserved.

    Spare me the histrionics. I say put them on trial and if they are found not guilty then they should take the issue up with Bush and Co. NOT with us and most definitely NOT with our own funds.

  12. ammaro.com says:

    You can’t state their innocence until they go on a FAIR trial; all evidence looked at, everything taken into consideration.

    Yes, the Guantanamo ordeal was unfair, but then, what the hell is fair in today’s world? If they are found to be innocent, the US government should be held accountable for their actions through court. Again, very unlikely that would happen.

    Give them a small amount, help them to survive? How about everyone else in Bahrain? The jobless who have worked hard for their degrees and can’t get a good job? The hardworking families earning dispicable salaries and can’t afford decent housing? And you want to give these people 50 grand, and we don’t even know whether they’re innocent or not? Gimme a break!

  13. 123 says:

    ye ye and if nasralah was held in guantanamo and then released and then offred a 50000$ chek that would be ok for u?
    ur full of crap man
    heretic hypocrte

  14. Maroon Irras says:

    Take your saying, e.g.: –

    Those men chose to go into a war zone to do goodness’ knows what and they might have participated in terrorism and terrorist activities.

    …. and combine it with your saying, also in the same article that,: –

    If the parliament really adopts this brainfart it is as if they accept and even condone terrorism. It is tantamount to announcing to the world that terrorism pays!

    …. and you are full well and already being a cheerleader in calling them terrorists.

    Now, if this is not enough evidence of you so dubbing them (i.e. as terrorists), then I do not know what is.
    And Only in the interest of brevity and as for you alleging me of “conjuncture”, there are two facts that matter, the US could not put them on trial in either its own courts or in the courts of the ruled-by-law-and-order Kingdom Bahrain, which the US can well order as it did those of Spain; if you still recall your fellow Tayseer Allouni, of AlJazeera SatChannel.

  15. mahmood says:

    123 I don’t care if it was Nasrallah, Abdullah, Khairallah, Mallallah or Attiyatallah, if the guy is guilty regardless of colour, sect, belief or gender then that person should stand trial and if found guilty face the consequences.

    Maroon I think delusion is getting the better of you. I have defended them while in Gitmo simply because I am completely against anyone being held without trial. That was and is a gross injustice apart from it being counter to any human values. What I have always maintained is that if the US can’t or won’t put them on trial then Gitmo inmates should be released into their countries’ judicial systems and get an assurance that they will in fact be put to trial and if found guilty face the consequences of their actions.

    Yes, these men because of the circumstances that they have been in have a very high probability that they have been involved in terrorist activities as defined by local and American definitions. You might call them freedom fighters as I am sure Mohammed Khalid and others will choose to do. That’s well within your rights. I on the other hand don’t want to call them either until they are put to trial or their story becomes public knowledge.

    I suspect that if you are to look into the actions of each one of these people individually and the gathered intelligence against them, I doubt very much that you would condone their actions, or would you?

    The crux of the matter, if I can bring you back into the discussion of the article is that they are being made heroes and an elected MP is clearly trying to ride the publicity wave in drumming up support to give them money they do not deserve, while completely ignoring the tens of thousands of his compatriots who lack proper housing, education, health and sustenance. And all that from public money which should be used to better all the aforementioned services.

  16. Maroon Irras says:

    Well, Mahmood, I really feel that delusion -if any – lies elsewhere. All I hope happens is for you to start to recognise that the DPP has already decided that: “there is no basis to try themPERIOD.
    So, in all justice, they have a claim in tort, which arises from them having been wrongfully jailed for a very extended period. The State of Bahrain has a duty to see that its citizen are not wronged, and, hence, it has a liability to redress them. This is much greater than MP MK is seeking for them.
    Nor is there any basis to term them “prisoners of war, as the term is defined in the GC IV”. And if there was such a basis, the two-terms Bush Administration would not have lacked resources to pursue such a course. Needless to say: the war has not ended, and any one who says otherwise could be harbouring some delusions themselves.

  17. mahmood says:

    All I hope happens is for you to start to recognise that the DPP has already decided that: “there is no basis to try them” PERIOD.

    If the DPP’s office would be good enough to come out and say it, then so be it, justice is seen to be served. However, I still maintain that should there be any compensation issue, then the Kingdom of Bahrain does not carry that liability, it is the gaolers themselves who should be made to pay for their errors, not us.

  18. underthepalmtree says:

    What does Mohammed Khalid have to gain by this nonsense gesture? Who is he trying to appease???

    Hmmm….anybody that tries to stand up to the “big bully” looks heroic, but a criminal is still a criminal.

  19. Maroon Irras says:

    Well, what would you, as Mahmood in person or as a people lose if the KINGDOM of Bahrain paid and sought refund from the US, the big wrongdoer, through the diplomatic channels or through any possible forum of enfocement, existing or to come in existence in the future?! Remember, the Lockerbie and the HIV nurses? Our governments should learn to demand reciorication at least from time-to-time. Why be happy with the role having to pay all the time, why should we by happy to simply lick our wounds in Iraq, Lebanon, …. and Gitmo? …and why should you be happy with the role of cheerleader for the enemy?

  20. mahmood says:

    uh, what’s reciorication? Maybe it’s the key to unravel your mind and I don’t want to miss it!

    Oh, and pray tell who the “enemy” as far as you’re concerned is while you’re at it?

  21. The prisoners at Gitmo have no right to a trial nor do they have any constitutional rights whatsoever, seeing as they are illegal combatants in a war that violates the Geneva Convention. They are due only an administrative hearing, which they have received. As a result of these hearings, most Gitmo prisoners have been released.

    The idea that Gitmo prisoners are being tortured or held under terrible conditions is nonsense, the stuff of Arab propaganda. In fact, they are being held in conditions comparable to US domestic prisons, better than European prisons, far better than Arab prisons, and infinitely better than Al Qaeda prisons, which no captive has survived.

    Colonel Morris Davis, the chief prosecutor for the military commissions at Gitmo, lays it all out in this Yale Law article, “In Defense of Guantanamo Bay.”

    May I also point out the irony of Al Qaeda prisoners alleging they are not being fairly tried under Western law, when Al Qaeda recognizes no Western law, which it considers blasphemy, and has as its object the destruction of that law which it insanely intends to replace with Sharia law.

    The idea that Bahrain would reward terrorists locked up in Gitmo demonstrates the support which Islamists receive in the Arab Muslim world. Bahrain’s sympathy lies with the Islamist terrorists, rather than with their infidel victims. Noted.

    Mahmood, I see you have removed all the blocks for me to post on your website. Thanks for that, for I did not relish being an unwelcome guest crashing your nice party. Surely, you will come to rue your generosity. Maybe, you already are.

  22. mahmood says:

    The idea that Bahrain would reward terrorists locked up in Gitmo demonstrates the support which Islamists receive in the Arab Muslim world. Bahrain’s sympathy lies with the Islamist terrorists, rather than with their infidel victims. Noted.

    There you go with your generalisations again…

    Surely, you will come to rue your generosity.

    If I were not generous, I would say that I am simply providing you with yet more rope. Let’s see what you do with it, but don’t blame me for not holding my breath though.

  23. Nawaf says:

    I couldn’t find a suitable translation for my reply to steve the American: “Ùˆ لا ترد على السفيه اذا تكلم”

  24. Abdulkarim says:

    Nawaf,
    It would have been really helpful if you told the readers here your counter arguments against Steve the American rather than just call him a thug.

  25. Merlin says:

    I completely agree with Steve the American, Bahrain like many other places in this region is fertile for extermism. They must be quashed and there should be no sympathy for the likes of those who have returned from Gitmo.

    As a freedom loving Bahraini, I am ashamed and disappointed that our country can breed people like that and sympathize with them. Anyone, including MPs, who shows sympathy towards fanatics and haters of freedom should be penalized, fined or locked up.

  26. Mahmood: “There you go with your generalisations again…”

    It’s pretty easy to paint a picture of support for terror in the Arab Muslim world when it gives me so much material with which to work. Doesn’t it strike you as odd that a supposed outrage against “inhuman conditions” at Gitmo does not extend to the truly inhuman conditions in prisons closer to home? Has Gitmo issued any snuff videos of its prisoners being beheaded, like Al Qaeda? Does America maintain a public policy of torture of its prisoners, like Al Qaeda does? For people so concerned with human rights for prisoners, it’s odd that such concern does not focus on its most egregious offenders.

    Many prisoners set free from Gitmo beg to stay for fear of being imprisoned in their home countries, a fate far worse than Gitmo where the biggest problem is overeating. Prisoners do not grow fat in Arab jails. The prisoners at Gitmo know the difference between Gitmo and an Egyptian or Saudi prison. Why don’t you?

    From my perspective, it appears these complaints are more of the same old game where imaginary Western offenses are wildly denounced while real Arab Muslim offenses are given a pass.

    Mahmood: “If I were not generous, I would say that I am simply providing you with yet more rope. Let’s see what you do with it, but don’t blame me for not holding my breath though.”

    Please don’t hold your breath, Mahmood. It alarms me when you turn blue.

  27. Nawaf: ““Some” of these Bahrain guys REALLY did go to Afghanistan for humanitarian purposes.”

    Yes, the prisons are full of innocent men. Just ask them. It’s amazing how many Muslim humanitarians were running around Afghanistan during the war with AK-47s in hand. My favorite excuse given by Gitmo prisoners is that they were in Afghanistan for religious studies. My second favorite is that they were there for a wedding, but have forgotten who was getting married.

    Nawaf: “There is no denial, they suffered unjustified tremendous mental and physical abuse in Guantanamo and their families suffered a great deal to. Some of these families were left living on social welfare and kind peoples’ charities.”

    Did they suffer tremendous mental and physical abuse like having their throats cut on an airliner, being trapped in a burning building and being forced to jump a hundred stories to their deaths, having flaming aviation gas poured on them so they burned alive, or being crushed like a bug under a hundred tons of concrete? These were men happy to join the jihad and kill infidels, but when they are consigned to the jail cell they deserve, it’s an outrage for sympathizers with their cause.

    Perhaps if these great humanitarians did not support an organization that left ten thousand widows and orphans in New York, their own families would not be missing them. But then it’s right and good for infidel families to live on welfare and charity, but not for their Muslim killers, is it? After all, they’re heroes of Islam, aren’t they?

    Nawaf: “Nevertheless, since the US government is clearly not offering any compensation to these victims for their potentially wrongful imprisonment all these years, the Bahraini government should help in some way with these individuals’ rehabilitation to society”

    When will the Muslim world be offering compensation to their victims? The list is getting very long.

  28. mahmood says:

    It’s pretty easy to paint a picture of support for terror in the Arab Muslim world

    What has that got to do with the topic that we are talking about here? Yes, in a larger context you might be right, but what I am trying to do here is highlight a local issue and broadcast my opinion about it and share it with the readers of this blog. Why do you find it correct that you would once again hijack a thread is beyond me.

    Let us deal with things in their context and their own locale, treating things topically and concentrating on the part that has been raised is much better and will get more results than your four-pound hammer to a thumbtack approach.

    So I would ask you to not to divert issues being discussed overly. Offer a global perception by all means, but your divergent tactics are just too distracting to make any discussion fruitful.

  29. OK, fair enough, Mahmood. Let’s restrict it to Bahrain, billed as a moderate Muslim state. What message is sent when even in Bahrain a representative of the government openly calls for support of terrorists at Gitmo? For me, it sounds none too moderate. It sounds like the “moderate” label is a Potemkin facade.

  30. Merlin says:

    Steve – right on target! For years we have advocated for a secular state in Bahrain, but instead we have an “elected” hive of fundamentalists we call parliament. You are correct that it is unacceptable for a government official or MP to show such public support for a former terrorist, but unfortunately neither are representative of people’s views. If I were the American ambassador I would demand an explanation for such public endorsement of such extremists, when Bahrain is an ally in the “war on terror”.

  31. mahmood says:

    What message is sent when even in Bahrain a representative of the government openly calls for support of terrorists at Gitmo?

    Context is everything. This particular gentleman is not taken seriously. Not even by his own party. Yes, he does enjoy popular support from a section of this community, just like a crackpot senator in your neck of the woods.

    I’ll make it easy for you in this particular cae; have a look at the satanwala archive!

  32. mahmood says:

    or years we have advocated for a secular state in Bahrain, but instead we have an “elected” hive of fundamentalists we call parliament.

    Democracy is a slow and painful process. It doesn’t happen in just 6 years. It might take 60 or 600 years but a start is extremely important. What we have done is taken our first baby step toward that goal.

    This incident is yet another brick in the wall which will either build democracy or a keystone that might destroy it. It is up to us to ensure that it is the former and not the latter dependent on our actions we take.

  33. Mahmood: “This particular gentleman is not taken seriously. Not even by his own party. Yes, he does enjoy popular support from a section of this community, just like a crackpot senator in your neck of the woods.”

    A fair point. It’s difficult for me to judge from the other side of the planet if this dufus is mainstream or fringe. I would agree that we have our own crackpots in office, but then that would be hijacking the thread to America and you hate that so.

  34. AZ says:

    محمود دين, ليش ما فكرت انت والمدونين البحرينيين انكم تسوون (جمعية المدونين البحرينيين)؟؟

  35. Salman says:

    If this goes through, i am personally gonna hunt Mr. Long Beard Short Thoub down and trim his beard off and sell it on e-bay!

  36. billT says:

    Bahrain is one of the few countries in the region that stands a chance of becoming a true democracy. Its going to be interesting to watch what happens in the next couple of years.

  37. Ingrid says:

    Mahmoud, you summed it up in a nutshell.. it is not even the money, but the fact that the money represents a political ulterior motive on the side of the MPs. As for that, it must seem to them that Bahrainis are all believers of gitmo prisoners being innocent. Being anti-American in any shape or form in the Arab world (do correct me if I’m wrong) seems to bring one brownie points.
    That said, I was part of a movement of bloggers, bloggers against torture, who argued against Guantanamo for all the right reasons; the doing away with the Geneva Conventions; the use of torture (even the Israelis do not consider it a useful tool); no fair trials. Not only that, people (by the northern alliance for instance in Afghanistan) were captured and received money for doing so, that is never is safeguard for capturing the right person. Even if Guantanamo housed actual terrorists, what Gitmo stands for is despicable. I know that is not your point Mahmoud, but since I was part of the bloggers against torture effort, I had to put my two cents in.
    Anyhow, politics stinks as it does anywhere in the world. I have to say Mahmoud, one of these years, you have to run for office.. but I think I mentioned that before haven’t I?
    Just Bahraini, you know..
    Ingrid

  38. President of "I love Steve" Fan Club says:

    Hey stevo, what happened in abu ghrair? Yeah, nothing happened. Prisoners were served with some hot coco and watched tv all day.

    ps. You’re still a tit.

  39. mahmood says:

    Thanks Ingrid.

    Being anti-American in any shape or form in the Arab world (do correct me if I’m wrong) seems to bring one brownie points.

    Only to simpletons. The unfortunate thing is that those who are not choose to be cowed by the majority and just prefer to keep quiet. The culture of “don’t rock the boat” seems to be the prevailing thing unfortunately.

    I was part of a movement of bloggers, bloggers against torture

    I applaud your efforts Ingrid. More movements like your should be enacted to spread the message that normal people are against state terrorism and other inhuman actions.

  40. ammaro.com says:

    I wish I could get an AK47 and have a go at our parliment members. I’m sure islam allows that.

  41. mahmood says:

    That’s really uncalled for Ammar. What would you achieve with violence and why would you even think it. Yes, there are morons in there I agree, but going to this level is way over-the-top.

  42. 123 says:

    why do u delete my posts u shit ba7raneee
    3eer feekk int o mathhabok il kachra
    fuck u and fuck ur relegion shit shia
    OWNED fatty

  43. mahmood says:

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we are fighting against. Pure, unadulterated hatred and the ugly face of sectarianism we have in this country.

    I am glad to say – in fact I am convinced – that this cockroach does not represent the rest of Bahrain and Bahrainis, but only himself. I hope that he will wake up one day to the fire that will undoubtedly burn him and his ilk before it is too late. Or at least, I hope that the fire will not consume those around him.

    For your information, my little cockroach friend, I did not delete any of your comments, in fact I approved them and approved your posting in order for people to see what we face in this country.

  44. monline says:

    Mahmood.. u hit the heart of the point by ur comment on 123’s… cockroach, not more or less!!
    We have so much of these in the gulf.. I’ve been traveling for a whole damn year, working for clients here and there, and’ve seen so many examples..
    no word can explain.. may be “sticky brains!” would..
    It’s not just that you can’t make thoughtful discussion with them, you can’t even think of it.. There is this big wall between their inner brain and the outside world.
    If they are given the choice, God Forbids, none in this world would be alive!

  45. Abdulkarim says:

    Back to the issue!

    President of “I love Steve” Fan Club,

    I do not think you were fair to Steve the American. He did not sanction Abu Ghraib did he? In fact he said that the US did not approve of torture or abuse of prisoners. Just re read his comments.

    The events of Abu Ghraib, sad as they were, were isolated incidents and the US government was quick to condemn it. The culprits were all put on trial and some are serving long jail sentences now.

    You have chosen not to comment on many of Steve’s assertion including that many prisoners at Guantanamo were refusing to leave for home. That is a fact. Why would they not leave if they were so badly treated as you claim?

    It would seem you do not know much law or history. In the past and certainly within the culture of the Middle East prisoners of war were either enslaved or executed. Fortunately, in modern times prisoners of war can expect better treatment. They can for example, be held without trial for as long as the war they were captured in lasts. The war that Alqaaida unleashed on the US and others is still raging on. That should explain to you why these people remained in jail for the time they did and without trial. Or are you going to tell me that these people were not in Afghanistan to plan the next murder of an American soul but rather were there to hand out bread and build schools to the children of Afghanistan? I would not be surprised at all if that is indeed your answer!

    Steve; you are not alone!

  46. Anonny says:

    So what’s your position on the returned
    detainees, 123?

  47. Abdulkarim: “I do not think you were fair to Steve the American.”

    It’s comments like this that make me scroll up to check the banner to make sure this is really Mahmood’s Den.

  48. Ingrid: “That said, I was part of a movement of bloggers, bloggers against torture, who argued against Guantanamo for all the right reasons; the doing away with the Geneva Conventions; the use of torture (even the Israelis do not consider it a useful tool); no fair trials.”

    Ingrid, if you are against the torture of prisoners, why does your criticim fall on America? Al Qaeda maintains a public policy of torture of prisoners, as documented in its widely available manual. Al Qaeda also proudly distributes videos of itself torturing and killing its prisoners. It maintained torture rooms in places like Fallujah where it headquartered and left the eviscerated bodies of its prisoners on the streets when it retreated. When I see such unbalanced criticism I can’t help but believe that it is a pose rather than a position, masking cheap criticism of America rather expressing a noble sentiment against torture.

    Like so many critics of Gitmo, you obviously have no idea what the Geneva Convention is about. It is the terrorists who violate the Geneva Convention by targeting civilians and not identifying themselves as combatants by wearing a uniform. They place themselves outside the protection of the GC by doing so, which allows them to be shot on the spot. Evidently, you think only the USA has obligations under the GC and must bear the risk of terrorists who seek to gain advantage by ignoring its provisions.

    If you read the link I provided above, you’ll see that the Geneva Convention has no obligation to provide a trial to legal combatants taken as prisoners of war, let alone the illegal combatants in Gitmo. They get only an administrative hearing, which they have gotten.

    This talk of torture at Gitmo is overwrought exaggeration. The prisoners do much more harm to the guards than is ever done to them. I was treated more harshly in survival training at the mock prisoner camp in the Air Force than the prisoners at Gitmo. I lost 16 pounds in a week of survival training. The Gitmo prisoners gain weight.

    Ingrid: “Not only that, people (by the northern alliance for instance in Afghanistan) were captured and received money for doing so, that is never is safeguard for capturing the right person.”

    Ingrid, don’t you think the Al Qaeda practice of not identifying themselves with uniforms or insignia in accordance with the Geneva Convention is the ultimate cause of this problem? After all, we didn’t have much trouble in WWII figuring out who the German and Japanese combatants were. They wore uniforms. Shouldn’t your criticism fall upon Al Qaeda and the Taliban for rejecting the international rules of war legislated to avoid such confusion? Shouldn’t your criticism be aimed at their unlawful practice of using innocent civilians as their shields and hiding places? After all, that was one of the main purposes of the GC, to protect civilians from such treacherous practices.

    The administrative hearings rendered at Gitmo culled out the innocent and sent them home. In that way, Gitmo rendered justice better than Al Qaeda or the Taliban. Al Qaeda, by contrast, had no administrative hearings nor were they interested in the innocence of their captives. They killed everyone they captured, innocents like Nick Berg. Why does your criticism fall on the US, which has carefully examined its prisoners and freed those it thought wrongfully held, rather than Al Qaeda which gleefully slaughters its prisoners with a hearty “Allah Akbar”?

    Ingrid: “Even if Guantanamo housed actual terrorists, what Gitmo stands for is despicable.”

    Ingrid, if you think there are no terrorists in Gitmo, then you have not made a serious study of this topic and your conclusion can be dismissed by reasonable people.

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the project manager for the Sep 11 attacks, is in Gitmo. Ingrid, do you consider KSM a terrorist?

    Mohamed al-Khatani, the 20th skyjacker, is in Gitmo. Ingrid, do you consider him a terrorist?

    I can come up with more examples. Will that be necessary for you to admit the obvious?

    The only despicable things about Gitmo are the many lies being told about it. It demonstrates how dishonest and credulous are the critics of America.

  49. anon says:

    if you are against the torture of prisoners, why does your criticim fall on America? Al Qaeda maintains a public policy of torture of prisoners, as documented in its widely available manual. Al Qaeda also proudly distributes videos of itself torturing and killing its prisoners.

    Last time I checked America is supposed to be a civilized country that doesn’t adopt a terrorist’s policy. And I don’t think anyone would be going around saying that what Al Qaeda is doing from the beheading of its prisoners to the tortures are the right thing.

    and apparently you have no idea what the Geneva convention is about

    Third Geneva Convention
    (Article 17): “No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may be inflicted on prisoners of war to secure from them information of any kind whatever. Prisoners of war who refuse to answer may not be threatened, insulted or exposed to unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind.”

    so please stop ranting about the Geneva Convention.

  50. Your wrong assumption is that torture is occuring in Gitmo. It is not. The critics of Gitmo have to strain to make their torture case by citing instances where the air conditioning was turned up or prisoners were shackled to the floor or rock music was played loud. In other words, it’s pretty pathetic.

    The prisoners at Gitmo are interrogated in big, soft recliners and are rewarded for cooperation with meals from McDonalds or extra exercise or small treats. The fictional torture regime is a typical figment of the wildly bigoted Arab press. The Gitmo interrogations are based on the successful method of Marine Major Sherwood Ford Moran, who favored a soft approach in interrogating captured Japanese in WWII, who were similar in many respects to captured jihadis. Over the long run, you get better info using the big, soft recliner than the rack.

    I might also point out that the Red Cross regularly inspects Gitmo, in accordance with the Geneva Convention, and has private access to the prisoners. They register no complaints. Likewise, there is an endless parade of politicians and press through the prison. It is a fairly transparent facility.

    European prison officials have inspected Gitmo and have declared it better than equivalent prisons in Europe.

    If you have some charge of torture to make that the Red Cross, press, politicians, and European prison inspectors have missed, then place it here on the forum for us all to examine. Please tell us how you came by it. I welcome the chance to debunk your unfounded slander.

    May I also point out your double standard in holding American to a civilized standard of behavior and making false claims of torture against it at Gitmo while holding Al Qaeda to a barbaric standard of behavior and ignoring its well documented torture of prisoners. Why doesn’t your criticism fall upon Al Qaeda? Why don’t you hold Arab Muslims to the same standard of civilized behavior as America?

  51. ammaro.com says:

    That’s really uncalled for Ammar. What would you achieve with violence and why would you even think it. Yes, there are morons in there I agree, but going to this level is way over-the-top.

    That was a sarcastic remark aimed at extremist islamic MP’s like MK; ie, they’re supposed be good muslims, but turn any extremist action into something that is allowed by islam. Sure, AK47, Parliment members? Its good for all of us, why CANT it be wrong?

  52. ammaro.com says:

    Steve; Ever been imprisoned there? Then your guess as to what is happening there is as good as ours!

  53. ammaro.com: “Steve; Ever been imprisoned there? Then your guess as to what is happening there is as good as ours!”

    Using your fallacious argument that you can only know anything by direct observation: if my argument in defense of Gitmo is invalid because I haven’t been there, then your argument criticizing Gitmo is invalid as well because you haven’t been there.

    However, in the real world I have the eyewitness testimony of the Red Cross, press, politicians, and European prison inspectors that backs up the reality that Gitmo is a model prison. The critics of Gitmo have only propaganda to back their view.

    I note that you don’t produce any examples of torture at Gitmo. On the contrary, it is the inmates who routinely attack the guards.

  54. anon says:

    @steve

    I love it how you are totally confident that torturing is not used in Guantanamo Bay. You don’t have any proof, yet you insist it’s true.

    The fictional torture regime is a typical figment of the wildly bigoted Arab press.

    I don’t think the NY Times is an Arab press.

    An ICRC inspection team that spent most of June at Guantanamo Bay reported the use of psychological and sometimes physical coercion on the prisoners, the newspaper said.

    It said it had recently obtained a memorandum that quoted the report in detail and listed its major findings.

    More than 500 people are being held at the U.S. base in Cuba, detained during the 2001 U.S. war to oust al Qaeda and the ruling Taliban from Afghanistan and in other operations in the U.S. war against terror.

    The Times said the U.S. government and military officials received the ICRC report in July and rejected its findings.

    and guess what was the Pentagon’s response?

    Asked by the Times about the report, a Pentagon spokesman said in a statement: “The United States operates a safe, humane and professional detention operation at Guantanamo that is providing valuable information in the war on terrorism.”

    They didn’t even deny that they rejected the ICRC’s report.

    Sadly the ICRC’s report was never published, it was kept hidden from the public so narrow minded people like yourself believe the government’s crap.

    The contents of the ICRC’s representations and reports are confidential and for the exclusive attention of the relevant detaining authorities. Therefore, in accordance with its usual policy, the organization will not publicly confirm or deny whether the quotations in the article entitled “Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantanamo”, which appeared in the New York Times of 30 November, reflect findings reported by the ICRC to the United States authorities regarding the conditions of detention and treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

    FBI agents have been visiting Guantanamo Bay let us see what they said.

    Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation observed what went on in Guantánamo. One reported on July 29, 2004: “On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18, 24 hours or more.”

    Read all about it here.

    And many prisoners who left Guantanamo Bay have reported that they were abused and tortured in many ways, and I would believe their claims not yours even though they can’t provide evidence because they were there, you weren’t.

    Why doesn’t your criticism fall upon Al Qaeda?

    Let’s see, does this topic relate to any way to Al Qaeda’s methods of dealing with prisoners? No. But since you’re insisting I’ll go off topic for a bit and tell you my opinion. Al Qaeda’s methods of torturing and beheading is totally wrong, I know it’s wrong and nothing will ever change my opinion about that. Many if not all Arab governments recognize Al Qaeda as a terrorist cell and Saudi Arabia arrested many people linked to Al Qaeda because they consider their acitvites as terrorist activities.

    Why don’t you hold Arab Muslims to the same standard of civilized behavior as America?

    Not all Arab Muslims are like Al Qaeda, in fact Al Qaeda doesn’t even represent how Arab Muslims are, so don’t generalize.

  55. Anon: “I love it how you are totally confident that torturing is not used in Guantanamo Bay. You don’t have any proof, yet you insist it’s true.”

    It is impossible to prove a negative. Such illogical demands demonstrate the irrationality of the criticism of Gitmo. It is your burden to prove your case, not mine to somehow prove something doesn’t exist.

    Steve: “The fictional torture regime is a typical figment of the wildly bigoted Arab press.”

    Anon: “I don’t think the NY Times is an Arab press.”

    No, though both are deeply biased and share an anti-American prejudice. Both also feature fiction as fact on their front pages.

    NYT: “An ICRC inspection team that spent most of June at Guantanamo Bay reported the use of psychological and sometimes physical coercion on the prisoners, the newspaper said.”

    Coercion is not torture. Anon, you might consider that all prisons are inherently coercive. Psychological coercion is a feature of any interrogation, even the soft sell approaches. It’s part of interrogation to reward cooperation with food and privileges and to punish noncooperation by withdrawing that food (meaning snacks like chocolate, etc, not their meals) and privileges. That’s psychologically coercive, but not torture.

    Likewise, physical coercion is unavoidable with hard core prisoners like those at Gitmo who attack their guards constantly, even setting up elaborate ambushes with improvised weapons made of fan blades, etc. A tactical team making a hard entry into a cell to control a riot is physical coercive, but it’s not torture.

    Your charge of torture here is based on sloppy reading. And really, is it really a surprise that holding terrorists captive may require coercion?

    Anon: “Sadly the ICRC’s report was never published, it was kept hidden from the public so narrow minded people like yourself believe the government’s crap.”

    May I point out the rather obvious fact that you can not cite the Red Cross’s report because it’s confidential and the examples you cited from this memorandum does not mention torture. You’re stretching “coercion” to make a charge of torture.

    Anon: “FBI agents have been visiting Guantanamo Bay let us see what they said.

    Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation observed what went on in Guantánamo. One reported on July 29, 2004: “On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18, 24 hours or more.””

    Sounds like the kind of treatment applied to violent prisoners. It’s probably pretty unpleasant to piss on yourself, but it’s not exactly torture. Such nonviolent restraint is likely to give a terrorist dedicated to killing an American something to think about when considering violence in the future.

    Anon: “And many prisoners who left Guantanamo Bay have reported that they were abused and tortured in many ways, and I would believe their claims not yours even though they can’t provide evidence because they were there, you weren’t.”

    You must be the last person in the world to know that the Al Qaeda manual says that when taken prisoner you always claim publicly that you have been tortured. I have no doubt you would take the terrorists word for your sympathies lie with them.

    Anon: “Let’s see, does this topic relate to any way to Al Qaeda’s methods of dealing with prisoners? No. But since you’re insisting I’ll go off topic for a bit and tell you my opinion. Al Qaeda’s methods of torturing and beheading is totally wrong, I know it’s wrong and nothing will ever change my opinion about that. Many if not all Arab governments recognize Al Qaeda as a terrorist cell and Saudi Arabia arrested many people linked to Al Qaeda because they consider their acitvites as terrorist activities.”

    Saudi Arabia supported Al Qaeda when it perpetrated its violence abroad. It covered for Al Qaeda when it perpetrated its initial acts of violence in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis only object to terror in Saudi Arabia. They are for terrorism everywhere else.

    Likewise, the Jordanians thought Zarqawi was great until he started bombing weddings in Jordan. They thought Zarqawis headcutting was great when he did it in Iraq.

    If you really believed torture of prisoners was wrong, you’d be all over Al Qaeda like white on rice. Instead you chase phony grievances against America because your bias against America trumps reason.

    Steve: “Why don’t you hold Arab Muslims to the same standard of civilized behavior as America?”

    Anon: “Not all Arab Muslims are like Al Qaeda, in fact Al Qaeda doesn’t even represent how Arab Muslims are, so don’t generalize.”

    Osama Bin Laden remains popular in the Arab Muslim world, where his posters adorn the walls of homes, his videos are eagerly watched, and his face adorns T-shirts. And the Muslim world celebrated Bin Laden when he killed Americans by the thousands.

    The Arab Muslim world supports Bin Laden. Your contrived attack on Gitmo is an expression of that support.

  56. ammaro.com says:

    Osama Bin Laden remains popular in the Arab Muslim world, where his posters adorn the walls of homes, his videos are eagerly watched, and his face adorns T-shirts. And the Muslim world celebrated Bin Laden when he killed Americans by the thousands.

    Please don’t generalize the muslim world. The people you talk of are ignorant ones who are so out of touch with Islam it’s ridiculous. Either that, or they have a strong hate for American policies that have probably caused much harm to them and their families (by supporting Israel, attcking Iraq, etc), that they would rather side with the enemy.

    The large majority of arabs and muslims are against Al Qaeda, and condone their actions. Unfortunately, no matter how much we try to say that to people like yourself, you won’t accept it because you seem to have such a strong belief that if you are arab or muslim, you are automatically a terrorist at heart. For your information, I have lived in the US, I have lived in London, I have lived in Kuwait, UAE, and Bahrain; I have friends from all over, and i’ve seen how people are. This is what I base my arguments on. What do you base yours on?

  57. mahmood says:

    and condone their actions.

    he means DO NOT condone of course, before you not giving him the benefit of the doubt. And I second Ammar’s point of view here.

  58. ammaro.com says:

    thanks mahmood;

  59. Abdulkarim says:

    Anon,
    You seem to have tried to hijack the issue here. I can’t help it but feel that you have tried to make the culprits the victims but I think you have failed!

    You have over looked the fact that these people (or at least most of them) went to Afghanistan to plot the murder of innocent Americans, Brits, Spaniards and countless others who were going about their daily lives.

    Mahmood has raised a fair question; Terrorism pays?

    No you would not answer it. That is not the issue for you. It is the welfare of those cold bloodied murderers and would be ones that seem to matter most to you. You have tried to find something to tarnish the reputation of Guantanamo Bay. It seems you have done a good search over the net in a desparate attempt to come up with something to support your views. It is a maximum security jail after all. It is not a 5 star hotel is it?

    There is no question. People should be treated humanly in as much as possible and that should apply even to people on death row. But if we were to take your argument a step further then jailing people is inhumane is it not? Is it also not inhumane to execute people who are guilty of murder? Where will it end? Murderers walking about freely in our streets? Would that make you happy?

    Look Anon you are trying to find faults here and there within the US and how she treats her most dangerous prisoners. God knows how much time you spent trying to find out the odd report that is critical of GB. Who told you the US is a virtuous country? I have not heard an American say they are have you? Has there ever been a virtuous society in all of human history?

    People make mistakes and so do nations. I would not be surprised if Steve the American admits here that America is not perfect afterall. But can you name me a more perfect, or if you like it, a less imperfect country?

    The US should be commanded for the restraint she has shown in the face of extreme adversary and in dealing with an enemy so inhuman it would boost about beheading people and take joy and pride in filming their painful death.
    The murder and beheading of an innocent man like Paul Johnson Jr trying to fork out an honest living in a far away land was a shameful and barbaric act. You of course, will condemn it too and I will take your words that you are against Alqaaida at face value. I believe you. However, you seem to have spent more time complaining at the treatment of those who helped, planned or actively supported such a horrendous crime than on their victims. So much fairness and humanity from you! Do not blame me if I suspect that it is all crocodile teas that you are shedding?

    One last thing so you do not misunderstand me;
    I disagree with you Steve on one count at least. I think your generalization about the Arab and Muslim world is extreme, unfair and has no resemblence to the facts on the ground. I am part of this world and I can tell you that you as an American would probably be safer in the streets of Bahrain and Dubai than in the streets of New York or LA.

  60. um naief says:

    sad to see kids standing there w/ such hate on their faces…. and for what?!

  61. ammaro.com: “Please don’t generalize the muslim world. The people you talk of are ignorant ones who are so out of touch with Islam it’s ridiculous. Either that, or they have a strong hate for American policies that have probably caused much harm to them and their families (by supporting Israel, attcking Iraq, etc), that they would rather side with the enemy.”

    Ammaro, there was a poster in this forum about a year ago who was one of the lucky ones who escaped from the World Trade Center on Sep 11. While fleeing, he happenned upon a mosque where the Muslim members were on the street celebrating the sight of the burning building. I have learned since that there was a similar celebration at a mosque across the bay in New Jersey when the Muslims there beheld New York City on fire.

    Now New York is host to many people of many religions, but only the Muslims had the obscene first reaction of celebrating the deaths of their neighbors. Since these celebrations occurred at mosques, it leads me to believe that these are Muslims who are very much in touch with Islam.

    You would have greater success in convincing me that Muslims hate America due to its foreign policy if Muslims reacted positively to American foreign policy which benefits them. They don’t. When America defended Muslims in the Balkans, it was met with indifference. When we defended Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, we received no praise in the Muslim world. Our foreign policy toward Saudi Arabia has been angelic, making them stupendously rich and lifting them into the modern world of roads and air conditioning, and they hate us the most. They were outraged that American troops defended them against Saddam.

    The Arab Muslim reaction to all things American is negative. Bernard Lewis, Middle Eastern history professor from Princeton, says that the ultimate complaint against America and the West by Muslims is religious, that Muslims are outraged that non-Muslims are the dominant power in the world. In the end, Muslim hatred for America in the West is simple bigotry, drummed into their heads by the mosque, schools, and media with their mothers milk.

    ammaro.com: “The large majority of arabs and muslims are against Al Qaeda, and [do not] condone their actions. Unfortunately, no matter how much we try to say that to people like yourself, you won’t accept it because you seem to have such a strong belief that if you are arab or muslim, you are automatically a terrorist at heart. For your information, I have lived in the US, I have lived in London, I have lived in Kuwait, UAE, and Bahrain; I have friends from all over, and i’ve seen how people are. This is what I base my arguments on. What do you base yours on?

    My sense is that the majority of Muslims are sympathetic to the goals of the terrorists, ie to overturn all non-Muslim governments and replace them with Sharia states, and sympathize with their violent means to varying degrees. That is borne out by polls in England where large minorites of British Muslims support suicide bombing.

    Lesser things are quite striking in their illustration of a Muslim world that thrives on hate. For example, I read an account of a British professor who went for a stroll in a local Muslim neighborhood to be met with angry glares. He was wearing a shirt with the insignia of his alma mater which included a cross. Many, many of these accounts paint a dark picture of Muslim tolerance for non-Muslims.

    Beyond that, I base my opinion of Muslim support for terror on the continual execution or uncovering of Muslim terror plots in the West. I was in the crowd listening during the Muslim demonstration across from the White House last summer in support for Hezbollah in its war against Israel. I heard Muslims denounce America and blame it for the war in the most venomous terms in front of a crowd of five thousand Muslims shouting Allah Akbar. I heard what they said to each other in the crowd, calling the US military murderers, among other slanders, before being hushed by their friends lest infidels hear.

    A year before that, a Muslim lawyer here tried to organize a demonstration of Muslims against Islamic terror. Only fifty people showed. All the Muslims mosques and organizations talked him down if not openly condemning him. When only fifty people show up to rally against Islamic terror but five thousand Muslims drive in from out of town to support the death lovers of Hezbollah, that tells me that Muslims support terror over peace by about a hundred to one.

    The way to convince people like me that Islam is a religion of peace and Muslims bear non-Muslims good will is for Muslims to stop killing for their religion, for Muslims to give up their many wars around the world with their non-Muslim neighbors, for Islam to give up its bloody imperialistic aggression.

  62. Abdulkarim: “Who told you the US is a virtuous country? I have not heard an American say they are have you? Has there ever been a virtuous society in all of human history?”

    I am an American and I’m telling you that America is a virtuous country. For example, look at the generous way we treated the conquered nations of Germany and Japan after WWII. Both countries had tried to enslave their neighbors. We did not imitate them but rather restored their individual liberty, their economies, their countries until each became an economic superpower. Where else in history has a conqueror been so virtuous in its treatment of a vanquished enemy?

    Likewise, we have been virtuous in our treatment of Saudi Arabia. When we found oil under the Saudis feet, we did not invade them or make them our colony or territory. We made them our business partners and arranged things so that they would profit vastly with little effort on their part. That, too, demonstrates a virtuous America.

    Abdulkarim: “People make mistakes and so do nations. I would not be surprised if Steve the American admits here that America is not perfect afterall. But can you name me a more perfect, or if you like it, a less imperfect country?”

    America is not perfect. There you have it, said by Steve the American. The difference between America and the rest of the world is that when imperfections are recognized, we fix them.

  63. mahmood says:

    The difference between America and the rest of the world is that when imperfections are recognized, we fix them.

    What rubbish. Had that been the case you wouldn’t have elected that baboon back into office again. I bet if he decided to change the Constitution to allow limitless terms because he had a dream and an epiphany from God, you would all run clapping and screaming that it’s a bloody good idea!

    Fix them my big toe.

    Steve you need to wake up from your purple dreams.

  64. So, Mahmood, you don’t like Bush, which is hardly a surprise, but your criticism is not exactly rational, is it? I’m reading a biography of Lincoln every day at lunch and I am struck by how similar the abuse of Lincoln is to the abuse of Bush. They called Lincoln the original gorilla, an orangatan, a butcher, a simpleton, incompetent, etc. From my perspective, Bush is a very good president because he took the Muslims’ war of terror to the Muslims. If the Muslims want war with us, I’d rather fight it in their home than mine.

    However, I wasn’t talking about Bush when I said America fixes its problems but rather about the mechanisms in our Constitution which allow for ammendment of bad laws, such as slavery and prohibition, and allows for reaction to changes in circumstances. This is better than most countries which stumble along without any laws the government is bound to respect and rely on the whim of each strong man who takes power. In such cases, you are not distilling the lessons learned into law as a foundation for the future. It’s better than the Muslim countries who take the Koran as their constitution and therefore are locked into an inflexible position that can not respond well to change.

  65. mahmood says:

    It’s better than the Muslim countries who take the Koran as their constitution and therefore are locked into an inflexible position that can not respond well to change.

    No argument there, from me at least and I have highlighted this particular view on countless occasions.

    I will not be able to comment on the similarities or otherwise between your two presidents as I don’t know much about the former to make an informed opinion other than the snippets which I know he has done good for not only your country but the whole world.

    The latter though leaves a lot to be desired, least of which is the lack of intellect and the affirmation that you don’t need to be smart to run a country; in fact, it is best not to be so as then the real movers and shakers and king makers have an unadultrated chance to run him as they like and offer him as a scapegoat when convenient. That has backfired in their faces several times (the crusades and more recently Vietnam remarks and countless others I suspect).

    The thing you are missing; however, is that you (America) does have a responsibility to the rest of the world in NOT promoting violence and force to resolve political disputes. That it disregards this responsibility with gusto and do so in my doorstep is something that neither I nor the rest of those who live here will be quiet about.

    As for your assertion that you are better served in fighting your fights in our neighbourhood rather than yours might be a temporary illusion as I am convinced that – just like cornered rats – terrorists will get creative in at least attempting to wreak havoc in yours sooner than you think possible, and eventuality I pray does not happen, but people like you – again unfortunately – are at the forefront of inviting such catastrophes to your doorsteps by your abject refusal to understand and your consistent bankrupt generalisations.

  66. ammaro.com says:

    I’m not going to argue with you Steve. Based in the US, it’s really tough to have an unbiased decision. You’re bombed everyday with tv shows, programs, movies, people, politics and so on, showing that muslims, or arabs, are the bad people. truth is, when i was there, there were moments where i felt scared when i saw someone in a turban and beard. its a psychological issue and my knowledge of psychology isn’t of a professional level, so i wont go into that.

    I’m not going to argue with you that there have been a lot of “muslims” who have killed, blown up buildings and people, rejoiced when people were killed. But again, this isn’t the majority of them. You might believe they are as the sample of muslims you have managed to see isn’t representative of the whole. And these aren’t real muslims; these are people who take the holy quraan, interpret it with twisted logic to their own benefit, and then play it out for the harm of others. And since they label themselves muslim, and they stand out, you believe that a majority, if not all, muslims are like that.

    Our youth wear Tommy Hilfiger jeans, they listen to hip-hop and heavy metal, they drive chevy’s and fords, eat at Chilis and Mcdonalds. You tell us we hate the Americans? We hate the american policies. We despise most of them, infact, especially with regard to our region, but we don’t hate america or americans. I have a large number of american friends, both from when I lived in the US, and even here in Bahrain. They like the place. Hell, I know one American who loves this country and its people so much, he doesn’t want to move back.

    Islam is a religion of peace. Arabs have no interest in bombing or killing americans, britons, or any other people for that matter. Hell, we visit your countries every summer, we really don’t need the headache of being looked at like the bad people!

    Steve, i’m not asking you to accept what I say blindly; you have your own views from things that you’ve seen around you. I urge you to meet some muslims, some arabs, visit a few countries, visit a few forums. Avoid the extremists, who make up a small percentage, and are NOT muslims, no matter what they say.

  67. Abdulkarim says:

    Stevi! Stevi! Stevi!

    I do not agree with everything you said but you speak words of true wisdom I tell you! I mean it!

    The Arabs and the Muslims have to realize that all humans are children of God. Not only them. They must not judge people by their faiths but by their conducts and contributions to humanity at large. They must stop looking at people as either true believers or infidels. Only then will other people like Steve be able to accept them as peaceful people.

    Coming back to our own exchanges Steve, I initially asked Anon “Who told you the US is a completely virtuous country?” I removed the word “completely” just before I posted it. I would have left had I known that you would respond the way you did. I wanted to bounce the ball back into Anon’s court.

    If you look back at some of my earlier contributions in Mahmood’s Den you will find that I have expressed exactly the same views as yours on Germany and Japan. I have even drawn resemblance as to what the greatest power of the ancient world (Rome) did to her defeated enemies (e.g. Carthage) and compared that to what the greatest power of the modern world (the US) did to her defeated enemies (Japan and Germany). Japan became the second richest country on earth and Germany the third. As for Carthage, well it has yet to recover 2000 years on!! On this count America is truly a virtuous country.

    As for Mahmood’s views on George Bush well they are definitely wrong. First of all he is basically saying that the American people are so stupid and would elect any body into office even a baboon. Well what can I say except to say that it is such a naïve thought. In my opinion, George “Wonderful” Bush is a truly wonderful man and I myself shall always be grateful for him for saving the Iraqi people from their mass graves and to his father too before him for saving the Kuwaitis from a similar fate.

    It is really pity that people like Mahmood do not appreciate the sacrifice that the American people have made in defeating (or stopping) the Genghis Khans of the modern world; Hitler, Tajo, Stalin, Milosevic and Saddam.

    As for the crusade thing well that is another naivety from Mahmood. Mahmood should know better than most that the word “crusade” has no religious or historical implications in every day usage in English. It is just that the Arabs and Muslims made a mountain of a molehill (just like what they did over the cartoon thing in Denmark).

    As for ammaro.com one word of advice if I may; please please does not speak on behalf of others. No body has appointed you to do that and you certainly have no right to do so.

  68. mdc says:

    “The Arabs and the Muslims have to realize that all humans are children of God. Not only them. They must not judge people by their faiths but by their conducts and contributions to humanity at large. They must stop looking at people as either true believers or infidels. Only then will other people like Steve be able to accept them as peaceful people.”

    The Arabs and Muslims have to do that, huh? 😯 Are you retarded?

    Surly you jest, Abdulkarim. Do you honestly think anyone around here gives a rat’s ass about Steve acceptance of them? Like you, Steve’s bias and generalizations against the Arab/Muslim world has lost him all credibility. Too bad cause he’s a bright boy with many valid points to make on America’s behalf that just won’t be taken seriously. I do hope you speak only for yourself when you say crap like this.

    I do agree Mahmood has the Bush thing wrong; the American public knew exactly what they were doing when they elected W to another term. It was the lesser of two evils, and people wrongly believed Bush would act in America’s best interest. Unfortunately he dropped the ball on a lot of stuff, and I rank him right up there with Jimmy Carter as one of the worse presidents in recent times. It was worth it not to have to look at Al Gore’s face every day for four years. :mrgreen:

  69. Abdulkarim says:

    Well MDC I only spoke for myself. Nowehere did I say I spoke on behalf of somebody else. However, I may be retarded and jest but unless you prove it then I shall take it that I am not!

    You have said that what I said was a lot of crap. Well, why do you not be more specific and counter argue each and every point that I or Steve have said? I for one would certinly welcome a healthy debate but please be more scientific. Who knows you may lead me into the true path!

  70. mdc says:

    Abdulkarim,

    Fun and games, huh? Spoken like a true troll.

    Debate you! Would there be some purpose in that? I’m going to tell you the same thing I’ve told others; if I have a question or an opinion, I’ll express it. I have no need to convince you or anyone else of anything and visit the Den for my satisfaction and nothing more. You act like a bigoted asshole; I’m going to call you on it every time.

  71. Mahmood: “The latter though leaves a lot to be desired, least of which is the lack of intellect and the affirmation that you don’t need to be smart to run a country; in fact, it is best not to be so as then the real movers and shakers and king makers have an unadultrated chance to run him as they like and offer him as a scapegoat when convenient.”

    Mahmood, I disagree. Certainly Bush is far smarter than his first opponent, Gore, and, in my opinion, roughly equivalent in intellect to Kerry. He is far superior to both in character.

    Bush stumbled through his undergraduate years as a C student, not unlike myself, before he got his act together to graduate from Harvard Business School and then go on to Air Force flight school and fly fighters. That requires superior intellect. Dumb fighter pilots die.

    Both Gore and Kerry were likewise C students. Gore was dragging the bottom of his classes his first couple years. Gore then went on to flunk out of two different grad schools, law and divinity. In divinity school, he got an F in five out of the eight classes he took. Divinity school sounds pretty easy to me. It would take some sort of superhuman effort to pile up that many failing grades in it. Now the liberals consider him some kinda Brainiac. What a joke.

    I think you’re buying into silly liberal propaganda if you contend that he’s a pawn of his subordinates or back office powers.

    Mahmood: “That has backfired in their faces several times (the crusades and more recently Vietnam remarks and countless others I suspect).”

    As another poster mentioned, the word “crusade” has no religious meaning to Americans other than the antique origin of the word. It’s kind of like saying that since Americans call today Wednesday, we are worshipping the Wodin, the paramount Norse god. When the Muslim world reacted to the word “crusade”, most Americans rolled their eyes at the contrived grievance, just like we reacted to Muslim outrage over Danish cartoons and blasphemous ice cream cones in Scotland and the Apple Mecca in New York. Give us a friggin’ break.

    Bush is entirely correct in comparing the disastrous decision to abandon our Vietnamese allies and the wrongheaded and immoral effort to do the same to our Iraqi allies.

    Mahmood: “The thing you are missing; however, is that you (America) does have a responsibility to the rest of the world in NOT promoting violence and force to resolve political disputes. That it disregards this responsibility with gusto and do so in my doorstep is something that neither I nor the rest of those who live here will be quiet about.”

    Mahmood, was it America who threw the World Trade Center at those jumbo jets full of peace-loving Muslims on Sep 11? When Muslims slaughter thousands of Americans you can bet we will react strongly to such a murderous provocation and take the jihad back to its staging area in Afghanistan.

    Likewise, it was not America who invaded Kuwait out of the blue and even after being soundly beaten and driven out, refused to abide by the surrender agreements. Saddam attempted to assassinate Bush the Elder with a car bomb in Kuwait. He placed bounties on our military people for their death or capture. He fired hundreds of SAMs at our aircraft patrolling the UN no-fly zone. And there is the troubling meetings of Iraqi agents with the Sep 11 skyjackers.

    Did all these provocations fall in the memory hole, Mahmood?

    Mahmood, if you want to stop all this talk about violence, walk directly to the nearest mosque and stop all this preaching about jihad to take over the world for Allah. Most of the wars in the world right now are carried out by Muslims attacking their neighbors, not by America wanting to get in a fight.

    The difference between America and its jihadi opponents in the Middle East is that we fight only so that the locals can establish their own government strong enough so that we can leave. The jihadis fight to conquer and occupy in order to build an empire.

    Mahmood: “As for your assertion that you are better served in fighting your fights in our neighbourhood rather than yours might be a temporary illusion as I am convinced that – just like cornered rats – terrorists will get creative in at least attempting to wreak havoc in yours sooner than you think possible, and eventuality I pray does not happen, but people like you – again unfortunately – are at the forefront of inviting such catastrophes to your doorsteps by your abject refusal to understand and your consistent bankrupt generalisations.”

    We disagree again, Mahmood. These wars are not fights we want. Had there been no Sep 11, we would not be in Afghanistan nor Iraq. That would have been fine with me. I’ve seen all the young guys on prosthetic legs at Walter Reed I ever want to see. I’d much rather see them chasing girls than learning how to walk again.

    The way to fight terrorists is to take their jihad to their homes, to reciprocate their violence with interest, until they see no profit in war and devote themselves to peace, like the Japanese. You don’t win a war against terror by sitting it out at home, wondering where they will attack you next. Offense is the best defense.

    That said, continual warfare is not the future for which I hope. I’d much prefer a future where no US troops are deployed to the Middle East, where Arab countries give up their enthusiasm for the export of violent Islam and devote themselves to building up their countries and human capital. Instead of wasting lives and cash on war, I’d like to seem them invest it in universities, real ones, and hospitals and the hundred little things that make modern urban life sweet. I’d like to see us sell goods and services to the Muslim world and buy your stuff in return and everyone gets rich and happy.

    However, Islam in its current virulent form is a giant obstacle to that good future.

  72. What mdc wrote: “Do you honestly think anyone around here gives a rat’s ass about Steve acceptance of them? Like you, Steve’s bias and generalizations against the Arab/Muslim world has lost him all credibility. Too bad cause he’s a bright boy with many valid points to make on America’s behalf that just won’t be taken seriously. I do hope you speak only for yourself when you say crap like this.”

    What Steve reads: “blah blah blah blah he’s a bright boy with many valid points to make on America’s behalf blah blah blah blah.”

    I will take the compliment and run, mdc, thank you very much.

  73. mdc says:

    “I will take the compliment and run, mdc, thank you very much.”

    You’re welcome, Steve; I may not be the president of your fan club, but I am a fan none the less.

  74. mdc: “You’re welcome, Steve; I may not be the president of your fan club, but I am a fan none the less.”

    OK, now I know I can’t possibly be in the real Mahmood’s Den. Somehow that wily Mahmood has tricked me into some parallel Mahmood’s Den universe full of postbots that respond to me with text generated by a fiendishly complex algorithm. I should have caught on that Ibn wasn’t a human poster.

    That clever, clever Mahmood has cooked all this up to distract me from the Real Mahmood’s Den which he has hidden from me in some obscure corner of the Internet. I should have known Mahmood would never let me back into his real den. This is some kind of holodeck den.

    I’m just letting you know, Mr. Alyousif, your mad scheme is unravelling. I’m on to you.

  75. mahmood says:

    Abdulkarim:

    please please does not speak on behalf of others. No body has appointed you to do that and you certainly have no right to do so.

    likewise Abdulkarim.

  76. mahmood says:

    Steve:

    I’d like to seem them invest it in universities, real ones, and hospitals and the hundred little things that make modern urban life sweet.

    Then how about refusing to supply arms and other toys for $20 billion? Would you like to petition your congress to stop the sale? And while you’re at it, do the same for the $30 billion you’re giving to Israel. Cancel both and we’ll (all of us) be much better.

    As to the other points you raised, let’s agree to disagree for now.

  77. mahmood says:

    Steve:

    Mahmood, was it America who threw the World Trade Center at those jumbo jets full of peace-loving Muslims on Sep 11? When Muslims slaughter thousands of Americans you can bet we will react strongly to such a murderous provocation and take the jihad back to its staging area in Afghanistan.

    Then the the tens of thousands Afghanis and Iraqis killed by your forces should be enough to your eye-for-an-eye approach, shouldn’t they? Or would you like to top that figure some to achieve a ratio that would be satisfactory to you?

  78. ammaro.com: “I’m not going to argue with you Steve.”

    A resolution made to be broken.

    ammaro.com: “Based in the US, it’s really tough to have an unbiased decision. You’re bombed everyday with tv shows, programs, movies, people, politics and so on, showing that muslims, or arabs, are the bad people.”

    Actually, the media here tend to whitewash the connection between terror, Islam, and Muslims. The liberals who monopolize the media hold a politically correct line and are terrified lest they be accused of racism. So they spin the news of terror plots in an odd and hilarious way that deletes the references to Muslims and Islam.

    When a terror plot makes the news, it’s pretty common for the media to leave out the names or to bury them at the end of the story. It’s become a running joke when the media does this, prompting bloggers to place bets as to how many of the plotters are named Mohammed. The media never names their religion, although it becomes pretty obvious when the members of their mosque testify that the plotters are good Muslims who wouldn’t harm a fly. There was a pretty funny skit on TV where the newscasters try their best to figure out the religion of a group of terrorists. One newscaster suggests Muslims after considering other religions but the other says, “Naw, that’s the religion of peace.” Big laughs.

    Some stories are hard to spin, like the Muslim kids who were plotting to shoot up a bunch of buildings in Canada and cut off the head of the prime minister. Then the Internet chatter of their wives was made public where they were demanding their husbands wage jihad and be martyrs. Still the media reported with a straight face the Candadian police commander saying there appeared to be no common ethnic nor religious denominator among the plotters other than they were all youths.

    The bottom line is that Muslims are getting a bad reputation because they are committed to doing evil to non-Muslims around the world. I just read about some tiny non-Muslim tribe in some remote and inaccessible corner of Pakistan who are under attack by their Muslim neighbors. Even though they live on land nobody wants, the Muslims make attacks on them because they can’t stand to share the world with infidels.

    ammaro.com: “truth is, when i was there, there were moments where i felt scared when i saw someone in a turban and beard. its a psychological issue and my knowledge of psychology isn’t of a professional level, so i wont go into that.”

    The only guys in turbans I see are Sikhs. When I see a Sikh, my first thought is that he probably can tell me where a good Indian restaurant is nearby.

    ammaro.com: “I’m not going to argue with you that there have been a lot of “muslims” who have killed, blown up buildings and people, rejoiced when people were killed. But again, this isn’t the majority of them. You might believe they are as the sample of muslims you have managed to see isn’t representative of the whole.”

    I see the Muslim world as something like a wedding cake. At the very top, you have a few terrorists who are willing to kill for Islam. Under them is a group of Muslims who directly support them with money, food, shelter, papers, whatever. They rest upon a larger group of Muslims who give them only slight support through contributions to phony Muslim charities or through their mosque. That group of Muslims rests upon the larger Muslim community which is unwilling to do violence or directly support it, but is indifferent to the violence done if it benefits them.

    I see the majority of Muslims as something like the Poles and Germans during the Nazi occupation. One morning, their Jewish neighbors were gone and the Nazis handed out their businesses and homes. Now those German and Polish civilians were too mild-mannered to gas Jews en masse or shoot them down in a trench, but they didn’t mind them being gone and getting their possessions. They didn’t question it or care about their neighbors fate.

    Likewise, most Muslims wouldn’t pick up a gun and shoot an infidel in the head but they are indifferent to terrorists doing it if it advances Islam. There is no groundswell of Muslims who oppose Islamic terrorism.

    ammaro.com: “And these aren’t real muslims; these are people who take the holy quraan, interpret it with twisted logic to their own benefit, and then play it out for the harm of others. And since they label themselves muslim, and they stand out, you believe that a majority, if not all, muslims are like that.”

    The terrorists aren’t doing anything Mohammed didn’t do. Skyjacking jumbo jets is the modern equivalent of Mohammed raiding infidel camel caravans. Beheading infidels in snuff videos is simply following Mohammed’s example when he spent a day beheading the Quraish. Assassinating critics of Islam like Van Gogh is no different than Mohammed assassinating poets who criticized him. You don’t need to twist any logic to make the connection that the terrorists are emulating Mohammed, the Perfect Muslim.

    However, if you want to reinterpret the Koran so that it’s all sunshine and roses and Muslims swear off their jihad against the world, I’m willing to play along if it stops the killing. I recommend you get a big eraser to rub out all those surahs and hadith where Allah tells you to convert, subjugate, or kill the infidels.

    ammaro.com: “Islam is a religion of peace.”

    This is a sick joke when Muslims are bombing people into bloody chunks from New York to Bali. Where ever Muslims go, they make war on their neighbors.

    ammaro.com: “Arabs have no interest in bombing or killing americans, britons, or any other people for that matter.”

    Why do they keep doing it, then? Every airport in the world must maintain elaborate defenses against Arabs seeking to plant bombs on airplanes. Even our shoes must be inspected lest Muslims smuggle a bomb on board in them. Some airports are now installing sniffer machines to detect explosives on your person because of the Muslim jihad on the world. We can no longer carry more than three ounces of shampoo or shaving cream nor carry drinks bought outside the airport because Muslims are devising ways to smuggle bombs in them.

    Muslims have showed quite a bit of interest in blowing up trains in Madrid, London, and Mumbai.

    ammaro.com: “Hell, we visit your countries every summer, we really don’t need the headache of being looked at like the bad people!”

    If Arab Muslims built hospitals instead of terror cells, universities instead of bombs, they would be looked upon as good, rather than bad.

    Amaro, when I was a kid, I would walk five miles to the local airport. I could walk right out to the planes on the tarmac and take pictures of them. Sometimes, the pilots would pass me, recognize The Look, and take me to the cockpit. I could walk out unchallenged to some corporate aircraft on some parts of the tarmac. The light planes were completely accessible.

    Those days are gone. Security bars your access to the jets to stop Muslims smuggling weapons on board. You can’t even wait in front of the airport in your car to pick people up, lest a Muslim drive a car bomb there. Even on the Metro, the loudspeaker constantly reminds you to beware unattended packages, lest Muslims planted bombs in them, as they have done elsewhere. For years after Sep 11, the buses full of school kids visiting the nations capital just disappeared. Nobody wanted their child killed in the latest terror attack by Arab Muslims. The tourists are just now getting back to their Sep 10 levels in DC.

    In this way, Arab Muslims have degraded the quality of our lives. If Arab Muslims made things better and safer and friendlier everywhere they went, people would be glad to see them. They haven’t. If there wasn’t an Arab Muslim terror plot uncovered every month, you wouldn’t get sour looks when Americans see you boarding an airplane with them.

    If Arab Muslims made things better where ever they went, Americans would be jumping over each other to find ways to get more Arab Muslims to come to America. As it is, we’re trying to find ways to restrict the number of Arab Muslims until they give up their war against us.

    ammaro.com: “Steve, i’m not asking you to accept what I say blindly; you have your own views from things that you’ve seen around you. I urge you to meet some muslims, some arabs, visit a few countries, visit a few forums.”

    Excellent advice. I think I’ll take it soon.

  79. ammaro.com says:

    Great, im glad we got that sorted out. im sorry for lying; me, mahmood, and all the others here are terrorists. Not directly, but yes, we want you all blown up. Thanks for clearing that up.

    😐

  80. underthepalmtree says:

    “The difference between America and the rest of the world is that when imperfections are recognized, we fix them.”

    Steve the American, I have been sitting here for weeks lazily reading things here and there and now I have to stick an apple in your mouth.

    Are you nuts? That why we have done such an outstanding job fixing: New Orleans, making a mucky mess in Iraq and Afghanistan, immigration, Bushes great idea to cut taxes for the rich in 2001, our obsession with SUV’s and our refusal to raise the tax on gasoline, our love affair with hand guns, our refusal to sign the Kyoto Treaty etc.

    Oh and DON’T accuse me of being a liberal, one of my favorite presidents was Ronald Reagan. Just because I hate GW Bush the idiot, doesn’t mean I am a liberal.

    I am proud of a lot of things that American stands for, but we DO NOT smarten up overnight!!!

    You are a smart young man, that is apparent to me, but when are you going to get off of your high horse and recognize that America is far from perfect? When you decide to do that, you will be a deeper, wiser, more credible person.

    Perhaps you would have more insight if you came and lived in Bahrain for a while, maybe someone here could help you find a job? 😆

  81. underthepalmtree: “Are you nuts? That why we have done such an outstanding job fixing: New Orleans, making a mucky mess in Iraq and Afghanistan, immigration, Bushes great idea to cut taxes for the rich in 2001, our obsession with SUV’s and our refusal to raise the tax on gasoline, our love affair with hand guns, our refusal to sign the Kyoto Treaty etc.”

    That’s quite a paragraph of propaganda there. Let’s dissect it.

    America can not stop a hurricane from tearing up a city. However, the military did a very good job of managing the Katrina crisis. The civilian government, not so much. New Orleans is a city built below water level, sitting next to a a lake and river which both lie above it. That’s an inherently unfixable situation.

    Our mission in Afghanistan was to clear out Al Qaeda and the Taliban and deny it to them as a future base to launch attacks on the US. Mission accomplished. If you follow events in Afghanistan, you will find that intercepted Taliban communications say that they’re are losing. Currently, the Taliban lose 100 for every GI they kill. Those are bad odds for the Taliban.

    We’re slowly winning in Iraq, despite the media to the contrary. The Sunnis have turned on Al Qaeda. Our GIs are actually patrolling with former Sunni insurgents against Al Qaeda.

    I’ll grant you immigration is a mess, but Bush is right to resist building a Maginot Line down south against immigrants. It won’t work. The Great Wall of China did not stop the Mongols from invading.

    Bush’s tax cuts brought in more tax revenue. Those who oppose it are economically illiterate, which includes most liberals. Liberals don’t understand that there is a point of diminishing returns as you increase the tax rate, a point which Congress always pushes past.

    The only obsession with SUVs is the insane lefty hatred for them which is based on ignorance. SUVs are not boiling the Earth, as the unhinged lefties claim.

    A tax on gas is a tax on freedom which restricts our liberty to come and go as we please. High gas tax is one of the reasons the European economy is so sluggish.

    The right to bear arms was included in the Constitution for good reasons by our founding fathers, reasons too numerous to name here. I might point out that handguns save thousands of lives every year and stop many crimes in progress, usually without a shot fired.

    The Kyoto Treaty is based on junk science and deserves to be rejected.

    For a Reagan Republican, you certainly believe in a lot of very liberal issues.

    What’s interesting here is that you believe that your opinions on these issues are absolutely correct and beyond argument, that anyone who deviates from them is absolutely wrong. You’re castigating me here for not agreeing with them. This self-righteousness of yours is typical of liberals and the mark of rigid ideological orthodoxy which makes the Left intellectually sterile.

    underthepalmtree: “You are a smart young man, that is apparent to me, but when are you going to get off of your high horse and recognize that America is far from perfect? When you decide to do that, you will be a deeper, wiser, more credible person.”

    I’m not that young. If you have been reading this thread, you would have read above where I said America is not perfect. Therefore, that point is moot.

    I am deeply unimpressed by your argument that I will be a much deeper, wiser, more credible person if I only agree with you. It’s the argument of a demogogue.

  82. ammaro.com says:

    A tax on gas is a tax on freedom which restricts our liberty to come and go as we please. High gas tax is one of the reasons the European economy is so sluggish.

    Are you living in a bubble?

  83. Ammaro,

    I take it then you have no substantial rebuttal to my point. Your comment is the type I have come to expect from somebody who has not done his homework but takes his positions from whatever seems popular at the time.

    Yes, if you tax gas you are taxing the movement of everything in the economy, which makes it more expensive and slows down the market and kills businesses on the fringe of profitability. Here in America, the laziest dufus can hop in his car and drive across country to where the work is or where better opportunities beckon. Not so in Europe, where ridiculous gas taxes force people into little clown cars that can barely carry their groceries home.

  84. Mahmood: “Then how about refusing to supply arms and other toys for $20 billion? Would you like to petition your congress to stop the sale? And while you’re at it, do the same for the $30 billion you’re giving to Israel. Cancel both and we’ll (all of us) be much better.”

    We agree that on the face of it, selling twenty billion bucks worth of arms to the Saudis sounds like a bad idea. However, the problem is mitigated by the Saudi incompetence to use any of the high tech gear they buy. The House of Saud appears to have little interest in developing a competent military that might become their rivals. When the Saudi rulers refuse to allow anyone become more competent than them, they are setting the bar very, very low.

    The Saudis see their military as a necessary evil, station them far away from the center of power, and organize them so as to hobble them. They are basically a heavily armed militia. The Saudis remind me of kids I played tennis with in high school who thought that buying the most expensive racquet would make them a great player. It appears that all those jets and tanks the Saudis are buying are used as scarecrows.

    Oddly enough, the sale of weapons to the Saudis and Israelis serve the same purpose of deterring Iran. There is a tacit recognition of the Israelis as de facto allies in confronting this threat. The Saudis didn’t pitch their usual fit about weapon sales to Israel this time around. Their Muslim brothers in Iran are far more likely to attack them than the Jews.

    Of course, the reason we supply Israel with weapons is to stop their Arab neighbors from perpetrating a second Holocaust. If the Arab Muslims want peace with Israel, they must give up their murderous bigotry toward the Jews. The Arabs should be imitating the Jews success rather than dedicating themselves to a long term religious war of extinction.

  85. underthepalmtree says:

    Steve, I don’t really come to this blog to debate with the same FOX news people that I can meet of the street, so I won’t go through point by point. But I just have to know….do you really believe that the net effect of handguns in America is to save lives?????????

  86. mahmood says:

    the reason we supply Israel with weapons is to stop their Arab neighbors from perpetrating a second Holocaust

    No no Steve. Remember that we are incompetent fools who can’t organise a piss-up in a brewery. Even then, that particular speciality – creating and perpetuating a Holocaust – is that of Europeans, not us Arabs and Muslims.

    So let’s get back to the original question: would you write your congressman a letter of objection of selling the Ayrabs weapons which they may use to subjugate their own people with, and they will?

    Using those weapons to fight a war with Israel will never happen and thus a non-issue.

  87. Aliandra says:

    Mahmood;

    For the record, I’ve written, though my complaint covered oppressive countries in general.

    Tyrannies tend to oppress their people with beatings, torture, guns, and so forth, not with tanks and jet-fighters. Saddam preferred acid baths and appendage removal with saws. Pretty low tech and cheap methods of subjugation.

  88. underthepalmtree: “Steve, I don’t really come to this blog to debate with the same FOX news people that I can meet of the street, so I won’t go through point by point. But I just have to know….do you really believe that the net effect of handguns in America is to save lives?????????”

    UPT, that’s one difference between us. I believe in free speech and debate to resolve differences. The kind of people who object to dissent from the liberal orthodoxy from sources like Fox News don’t believe in debate nor free speech. They believe in maintaining a monopoly on speech.

    Yes, handguns save far more lives by an order of magnitude than they destroy. Lott estimates that there are two million handgun defenses every year in America, almost all of which are accomplished by merely brandishing the weapon in the view of criminals, something in the neighorhood of 95+%. Undoubtedly, some percentage of those crimes would have progressed to bodily harm or death without a handgun to ward off the perpetrator at the onset of the crime.

    Beyond the dry recital of such statistics, I have brandished a handgun to stop a crime in progress in Texas which may have saved two women from harm. Criminals want defenseless victims as their prey, not armed citizens.

  89. Steve: “…the reason we supply Israel with weapons is to stop their Arab neighbors from perpetrating a second Holocaust”

    Mahmood: “No no Steve. Remember that we are incompetent fools who can’t organise a piss-up in a brewery. Even then, that particular speciality – creating and perpetuating a Holocaust – is that of Europeans, not us Arabs and Muslims.”

    That’s quite a striking visual you’ve dropped on my desk, Mahmood. If I were a drinking man, I believe I’d swear it off.

    While I must agree that Muslims would not be so organized in their slaughter of Israelis as the Nazis were of the Jews, still they retain a fearful enthusiasm for such slaughter, urged on by furious sermons in their mosques.

    Mahmood: “So let’s get back to the original question: would you write your congressman a letter of objection of selling the Ayrabs weapons which they may use to subjugate their own people with, and they will?”

    No, Mahmood. I agree with you in spirit, but disagree that stopping this sale of arms will improve the situation. The first problem is that the Saudis will still buy weapons even if they don’t buy from us. The Russians will be happy to sell them all the MiGs and tanks and artillery they want. That would make it a pointless gesture.

    The Saudis will be no more able to use the Russky weapons effectively than the American weapons, so if confronted with a crisis they will outsource their defense again. If not the US, they’ll use Russia. The US has been scrupulously careful to respect Saudi culture and sovereignty. The Russians have no such history of scrupulousness, but are rather quite unscrupulous. Their history has been to subvert such governments and replace them with hand puppet governments that report to Moscow.

    Selling these weapons to the Saudis maintains American influence which exerts some minimal moderating force. For example, the US persuaded the Saudis to outlaw slavery. I doubt the Soviets would have cared.

    In lieu of trust, the best guarantee for stability in a region is a moderate amount of arms. Being underarmed invites attack. Being overarmed prompts one to believe one could win a war. If everyone is moderately armed, it guards against easy conquest and makes the probability of victory ambiguous. Predators want a sure kill. They attack the wounded and weak.

    You make a good point in that these weapons will be used to subjugate the Saudis. While it’s difficult to use an F-15 against an internal rebellion, these weapons indirectly subjugate the Saudi people by propping up the Saudi princes, a nasty crew.

    Now, Steve’s Approved Solution would be for the non-Wahhabi Arabians to rise up and hang all the Wahhabi clerics from lampposts and chase the useless princes out of the country into Europe, where they can eke out their days driving cabs for a living. Sadly, this appealing vision seems unlikely.

    The other scenario is for Saudi Arabia to change by degrees. As the technological revolution progresses, ordinary Saudis will be able to compare their lives to others and find it wanting. Saudis live sad, pathetic, empty, little half lives compared to Westerners. The popular pressure for progress will build until a crack develops in the Saudi egg of government; maybe when the last of the Sudairi Seven drops dead. Then, perhaps, there will be a little macro-evolutionary spurt towards an environment not ruled by Wahhabi religious maniacs.

    However, without the weapons to maintain its sovereignty, a predator nation, like Iran, could scramble the peninsula into an anarchy worse than the present authoritarian theocracy. Then again, maybe the Saudi oil will run out and render all this moot.

    Mahmood: “Using those weapons to fight a war with Israel will never happen and thus a non-issue.”

    You have more confidence in Arab pacifism than I do. It’s true that a history of defeat has made Arabs wary of war with Israel, but if Israel was wounded, maybe by two or three nukes from Iran, it’s likely all the knives would come out to carve Israel up. I doubt Israel’s Arab neighbors would want their militaries to stand fast when they had the chance to live out the wicked vision of the Koran where even the rocks and trees beckon the Muslims to kill Jews. After all, that’s the key to the Muslim Hour of Ressurection, right?

  90. mahmood says:

    Aliandra: Tyrannies tend to oppress their people with beatings, torture, guns, and so forth, not with tanks and jet-fighters. Saddam preferred acid baths and appendage removal with saws. Pretty low tech and cheap methods of subjugation.

    Maybe less wealthy tyrannies will resort to the methods you outline, and they do of course, we on the other hand are flush with cash and are in a hurry. Jets and bombs do do the nasty much quicker and ultimately cheaper!

    Thanks for registering your opposition by writing your officials. Please encourage others to as well.

  91. mahmood says:

    The first problem is that the Saudis will still buy weapons even if they don’t buy from us. The Russians will be happy to sell them all the MiGs and tanks and artillery they want. That would make it a pointless gesture.

    It wouldn’t. You will have made a stand and made your position known that you do not support oppression. Ultimately, others will do the same too. But if you take the premise as you have that if they don’t buy from you they will buy from someone else so I might as well do it, then where is your integrity?

    Selling these weapons to the Saudis maintains American influence which exerts some minimal moderating force.

    Oh yes, another chestnut. Like your influence on persuading the Saudis not to let their citizens fly into your buildings you mean? Or the thousands who are fighting your forces (with your own weapons!) in every spot on Earth not just Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan?

    Steve’s Approved Solution would be for the non-Wahhabi Arabians to rise up and hang all the Wahhabi clerics from lampposts

    Oh come come, why not just shoot them through the head with a high-powered M16 that you sold to them in the first place?

    and chase the useless princes out of the country into Europe, where they can eke out their days driving cabs for a living.

    Pah, they’re moving more into Eastern Europe now and apparently rather enjoying the new climes!

  92. underthepalmtree says:

    Steve, you poor misguided man.

    According to the CDC, (Center for Disease Control) more than 4,300 young people (under 24) were murdered by firearms in 2004; another 2,163 took their own lives using guns.

    I am sure that their parents would be quite comforted to hear how you saved two women from “harm” with your handgun.

    I will pray for you Steve, that no one that you love comes to harm in the crossfire.

    However, I am not going to spend one more minute of my time arguing with someone that is SO out of touch with reality.

    Everyone else…..please do not believe that “Steve the American” represents the views of most of my thoughtful countrymen.

    1
    http://www.cdc/gov/ncipc/osp/charts.htm

  93. Aliandra says:

    UnderthePalmTree;

    Most handgun murders involve drug dealers and gang members settling scores. They are hardly innocent victims. You should not waste tears on them, like their useless parents. Given that there are 300 million privately owned firearms in the United States, a gun murder rate of 4300 a year shows a remarkably restrained population.

    If you don’t travel with shady company, your odds of dying from a bullet are pretty much zero.

  94. mdc says:

    underthepalmtree,

    “Everyone else…..please do not believe that “Steve the American” represents the views of most of my thoughtful countrymen.”

    While any death from firearms (or any other violent means) is tragic, perhaps you should spend more time on polls about Americans views about guns and gun control before you paint Steve as some rogue off the wall gun nut. No doubt in my mind that Steve and other Americans have given as much thought and time to gun control as you have; your attempt to paint him and anyone else who agrees with him as somehow less of an American is arrogant, offensive and just plain stupid.

  95. AGA says:

    I dunno UnderThePalmTree, but gun control seems to me to be more than a little tangential to this thread, yet you (to my reading) present it as your center piece for chastising SteveTheAmerican with , “[Y]ou poor misguided man,” demonstrating that he’s “so out of touch with reality” and advising everyone not to believe that “represents the views of most of my thoughtful countrymen.” As a “thoughtful countrymen,” allow me to register my disagreement with your gun control views (I know that you haven’t laid them out, but I’m willing to bet that mine are sufficiently different to merit your condemnation, both as to my lack of thoughtfulness and lack of common sense). I would also ask you to reflect on the fact that no one took it upon themselves to caution the world that not all Americans are unable to see a difference between girls engaging in erotic 18+ “dancing” and those engaged in prostitution.

    What I can’t figure out is why Steve persistently returns to a theme that all Muslims have terrorism in their hearts or some such thing. When pressed, he will soften it a bit, such as, “larger Muslim community which is unwilling to do violence or directly support it, but is indifferent to the violence done if it benefits them,” but he never really lets go of the notion that Muslims generally are the problem. (My own personal belief is that the majority of people in every community are indifferent to violence if it doesn’t affect them, percieved benefit has little to do with indifference.) MDC said it best.

  96. AGA: “What I can’t figure out is why Steve persistently returns to a theme that all Muslims have terrorism in their hearts or some such thing. When pressed, he will soften it a bit, such as, “larger Muslim community which is unwilling to do violence or directly support it, but is indifferent to the violence done if it benefits them,” but he never really lets go of the notion that Muslims generally are the problem.”

    I think Muslims and Islam are the problem in general because of stories like this.

    A fuller response later.

  97. AGA says:

    Just so we’re clear, specifically, I am wondering why you don’t develop a term or name for that “type” of Muslim or belief system as exemplified by ul Haq that differentiates that type from the majority or “larger Muslim community which is unwilling to do violence or directly support it . . ..”

  98. mahmood says:

    Because he’s Steve and doing what you suggest would damage his brand, which is essentially the mirror image of ul Haq and his lot.

  99. AGA: “Just so we’re clear, specifically, I am wondering why you don’t develop a term or name for that “type” of Muslim or belief system as exemplified by ul Haq that differentiates that type from the majority or “larger Muslim community which is unwilling to do violence or directly support it . . ..””

    OK, AGA. If the Ul Haq faction held a single mosque, I’d call them a fringe group. If they held a few mosques, I’d call them a minority movement. But when they hold nearly half the mosques, I’d call them mainstream.

    It is a measure of the Muslim community in England when half of it willingly supports mosques which promote violent and hateful Islam. One wonders how far the remainder of the Muslim community lies from this venomous position. If Islam is the religion of peace, as Muslims claim, why are half of English Muslims subscribing to Islam as a religion of war?

    The most obvious explanation is that all this public talk about the religion of peace is so much taqqiya while behind the mosque doors the Muslims covertly foment war against their non-Muslim hosts.

  100. mahmood says:

    Steve, I would hate to once again point the obvious to you. It might be – and that’s a stretch – that their congregations share their thoughts but not the (Muslim) communities they fall within. As far as my experience is concerned, congregations are a very small part of the population, hence, if they (the congregations of ul Haq and others – take it even to the Red Mosque if you will) believe in the fire and mayhem their criminal preachers preach, it does not mean that the whole Muslim community or the Muslim world at large condones their beliefs or preachings of violence and hate.

    Apart from that, you once again demonstrate their ignorance of Muslim facts – “taqiyya” is not practiced by Sunnis and most certainly is not believed in by the Wahabis you referred to here.

    I hope I have sufficiently befuddled your mind on these two issues. But persevere, give us some more naive deductions to throw back at you.

  101. underthepalmtree says:

    Perhaps you all didn’t understand me.

    I am NOT disputing that many Americans oppose gun control; and perhaps they have given their position as much thought as I have.

    However, Steve’s point was that hand guns save more lives then they take. That is NOT a thoughtful position. Even the NRA doesn’t go that far.

    If people wish to continue this discussion, perhaps it would be more fitting on Mahmood Talk.

  102. ammaro.com says:

    i’ve had two friends shot in the US by an armed thug, one of them died. don’t tell me guns save lives.

  103. a reasonable man says:

    Greetings All,

    I’m back from my travels and back on the blog. I know the following will seem somewhat off the track of the topic of this thread—terrorism pays—but bear with me a few minutes and I’ll do my best to tie it back in. Also, I just can’t let such a ludicrous assertion as this pass unchallenged.

    A recent exchange between my friend “underthepalmtree” and “Steve the American” went like this:

    Steve the American: “The difference between America and the rest of the world is that when imperfections are recognized, we fix them.”

    underthepalmtree: “Are you nuts? That’s why we have done such an outstanding job fixing: … our love affair with hand guns …”

    Steve the American: “I might point out that handguns save thousands of lives every year and stop many crimes in progress, usually without a shot fired.”

    underthepalmtree: “…do you really believe that the net effect of handguns in America is to save lives?”

    Steve the American: “Yes, handguns save far more lives by an order of magnitude than they destroy.”

    What Steve has done here is similar to what our nation’s political leadership has done all too often in recent years. There is a saying here that sometimes the best defense is a good offense. The political addendum to this seems to be, if that doesn’t work get more offensive.

    Let me break down this specific case first.

    Steve took a reasonably valid initial position. Our country does indeed have mechanisms built into our constitution that enable us to evolve in the face of changing circumstances. For examples, see the constitutional amendments that ended slavery and allowed women’s suffrage. Other countries with more rigid constitutions might indeed have a harder time making such changes. However, when challenged he threw out a number of more questionable positions in his defense. {Many Americans, and nearly all of the rest of the world, would have a hard time with the claim “we’re slowly winning in Iraq.”) Then when further challenged on the incredible assertion that hand guns save lives, he not only failed to back down, rather he increased his claim by a factor of ten. This showed plenty of confidence, but very little judgment.

    For those of you who care, here’s a mathematical breakdown of Steve’s silliness. If you don’t care, skip ahead to my closing, where I’ll tie this back into the theme.

    Let’s do the math for 2004, the most recent year for which I could find the statistics.

    According to the Center for Disease Control, 11,624 people were murdered by firearms in that year. The CDC does not break down these numbers by types of firearms, but based on FBI statistics from 2005, about 75% of firearm homicides are committed using handguns. Assuming that a similar ratio held one year earlier, around 8700 of those people were murdered with handguns. So even without Steve’s “order of magnitude” boast, handguns would need to have saved more than 8700 lives in order for their net effect to be life saving.

    Of note, this is probably less than half handguns’ actual toll. Another 16,750 people killed themselves in 2004 with a firearm–probably most of those with handguns. Plus handgun-related accidents kill many more each year, all too often children. But I won’t need those numbers to make my point

    Steve’s claim was that the two million “handgun defenses” each year save ten times as many lives as handguns take. I won’t challenge this figure too much, except to note that it is likely based entirely on self reporting and therefore probably includes many cases where an individual heard the neighbor’s cat in the night, shouted out “I’ve got a gun”, and then nothing bad happened. But even granting that all two million were actual criminals that were deterred, how do we figure the potential carnage that could have resulted? The only way I could come up with was to use actual statistics on all crimes for 2004. This is probably overly generous to Steve, as murders are more often committed by someone that knows the victim and would therefore be less likely to be deterred; but since I can’t quantify that factor, I’ll ignore it.

    According to the FBI in 2004 there were 1,360,088 violent crimes (murder, rape, assault, etc) in America and 10,319,386 property crimes (burglary, theft, etc) for a total of 11,679,474. These crimes resulted in 16,148 deaths (murder & negligent manslaughter); yielding a fatality rate of 0.13826%. Multiplying this rate by the 2,000,000 times that
    people allegedly stopped a crime with their handgun yields 2766 lives saved (rounding up). This is less than one third of the number murdered by handguns, certainly not ten times as many.

    This means Steve’s contention was off by a factor of at least 30.

    Now to head back toward the main point.

    America’s approach to the war in Iraq followed much the same pattern, and the world is now facing the consequences.

    We took what I still believe was a valid initial stand. In 2002, the sanction regime was falling apart, UN inspectors were almost completely ineffectual, and Saddam remained both committed to building a WMD capability and firmly in power. Therefore, some action by the world community was necessary. But we couldn’t sell it to our own population or our allies, so the administration increased the fear factor. They took questionable defector reports and circumstantial evidence and presented them as facts; claiming that Saddam had WMD stockpiles, was actively developing more, and was in league with al Qaeda.

    These claims all subsequently failed to stand up, gravely damaging America’s credibility. This loss of credibility meant that when we honestly stated that we had no intention of stealing Iraq’s oil and no desire for a long term occupation, we weren’t believed. Therefore, the American “occupation” of Iraq and “theft” Iraq’s oil have become rallying cries for militants around the world, especially within Iraq.

    We painted ourselves into a similar corner with the detainees, finally getting back to where this string started. We picked up a bunch of non-Afghan folks on the battlefields of Afghanistan. Not knowing what else to do, we held onto them. When challenged, we claimed that they were all terrorists; sometimes based on the “evidence” that they were wearing the same kind of watch as known terrorists. Having made such a claim it then took us years to finally release those against whom we had no real evidence, again building up a tremendous amount of ill-will across the globe and probably creating thousands of real terrorists.

    Now having said all that, I really don’t see any obligation for the Government of Bahrain to pay these folks a dime (or a fil). They took a chance venturing into a war zone, and got caught up in world politics. Lucky for them it wasn’t the Soviets that picked them up, or they would likely have ended up with a bullet in the back of the head instead of a delayed return to their home country.

    Thoughts?

    A Reasonable Man

  104. AGA says:

    Thoughts. Actually, I was hoping to avoid gun control all together, but I am waiting for a “fuller response.”
    I am trying to understand the “brand“. Under Steve’s approach, I must be guilty of harboring the desire in some measure to label all Muslims terrorists, since I didn’t pipe up and denounce Steve everytime he made this assertion or insinuation over the years I’ve been reading this blog. Its a flawed approach, obvious to everyone including Steve, and I wonder why he uses it.

  105. Steve: “The first problem is that the Saudis will still buy weapons even if they don’t buy from us. The Russians will be happy to sell them all the MiGs and tanks and artillery they want. That would make it a pointless gesture.”

    Mahmood: “It wouldn’t. You will have made a stand and made your position known that you do not support oppression. Ultimately, others will do the same too. But if you take the premise as you have that if they don’t buy from you they will buy from someone else so I might as well do it, then where is your integrity?”

    We agree on the goal, Mahmood, but not on the method. We have to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. You can not reform an Arab tyranny with sharply worded disapproval or by withdrawing support. If that worked, Saddam would have fallen without an invasion. If we halted the sale of weapons, the Saudis would be free to be as openly belligerent as the Iraqis under Saddam with Russian or Chinese or European weapons.

    Steve: “Selling these weapons to the Saudis maintains American influence which exerts some minimal moderating force.”

    Mahmood: “Oh yes, another chestnut. Like your influence on persuading the Saudis not to let their citizens fly into your buildings you mean? Or the thousands who are fighting your forces (with your own weapons!) in every spot on Earth not just Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan?”

    Yes, the Saudis are wicked and duplicitous savages who can not be trusted and bear a murderous bigotry toward us. Yet, we are better able to apply pressure on them when we are engaged with them than if we are disengaged.

    You’ll have to tell me all these places around the world where people are fighting us because I’m at a loss to know what you are talking about. I’m particularly interested to know where anyone is fighting GIs with M-16s, Bradly fighting vehicles, M-1 tanks, or F-16s.

    The main fight I know about with foreign countries is their fight to open trade with us, to sell their products on our market.

    Steve: [useless Saudi princes]

    Mahmood: “Pah, they’re moving more into Eastern Europe now and apparently rather enjoying the new climes!”

    Mahmood, if only the main occupation of rich Arab princes was to add to their list of wives I would wish them well. That would be a recognizeable human impulse. The desire to kill people for your religion is an inhuman impulse, a retreat to the morality of reptiles which regard every other living thing as the enemy.

  106. AGA: “What I can’t figure out is why Steve persistently returns to a theme that all Muslims have terrorism in their hearts or some such thing. When pressed, he will soften it a bit, such as, “larger Muslim community which is unwilling to do violence or directly support it, but is indifferent to the violence done if it benefits them,” but he never really lets go of the notion that Muslims generally are the problem.”

    AGA, Islam is a religion which promotes terror. Mohammed, the Perfect Muslim, modelled the behavior for modern day terrorists with his attacks on his rivals caravans, his unprovoked attacks on rival villages after dreaming up bogus grievances, his enthusiastic embrace of violence to include assassination of critics and beheading hostages en masse.

    Most of the Muslim world was taken by violence. Most of the wars today are Muslims attacking their non-Muslim neighbors. This is an expression of Mohammed’s last words to fight every man until all the world submits to Islam.

    The Sep 11 attacks are part of that centuries old jihad which continues where ever Muslims go. The Muslim mosques within sight of the burning WTC burst into celebration at the sight of NYC burning, their fondest dream. The Muslim world in general, with the exception of the Iranian people, celebrated the slaughter which they saw as advancing the inevitable triumph of their religion.

    For at least three years in the aftermath of Sep 11, “America” or “Death to America” has been scrawled on the pillars of Mina during the hajj, identifying America as Islam’s Satan and declaring war on us. It is also quite clearly an implicit endorsement of the Sep 11 terror attacks. About two million Muslims do the hajj every year with not a peep of protest at the Religion of Peace’s declaration of war, not even from the Muslims from America. Making war on America is an accepted doctrine of Islam.

    Given that, I’ll admit that not every single Muslim is sympathetic to terrorism. No group of people can be uniformly evil. There were even some good Nazis, like Oskar Schindler. I know at least one Muslim guy of Palestinian descent who worked with me at the time of Sep 11 who was a good guy. He could have been made out of honey and sugar. Undoubtedly, where there’s one like him, there’s more.

    However, the behavior of the larger Muslim community makes me think he and those like him are the exception, not the rule. First, the Muslim community continuously produces terror plots. These Muslim terrorists prefer to hide in Muslim communities, which apparently are friendly to their extremist views. If Muslims were against Islamic terror, they would deliver these plotters to the police. They don’t.

    Very few terror plots are unravelled because decent Muslims inform on them. They are usually discovered from the outside of the Muslim community by non-Muslims. When caught, Muslims do not denounce them for their murderous intentions but rather make every effort to deny or excuse their guilt. These are the acts of a sympathetic community.

    When a local Muslim lawyer here in Washington tried to gin up a Muslim demonstration against Islamic terror, only fifty people showed up. When Hezbollah went to war with Israel a year ago, five thousand Muslims showed up to demonstrate across from the White House. That’s the Hezbollah which boasts that its advantage over its infidel enemies is that they love life while Hezbollah loves death. It’s a cartoonishly evil statement. When Hezbollah went to war, the cry among Muslims was “WE ARE ALL HEZBOLLAH!”

    The problem among Muslims is that the most radical position is considered the most authoritative while moderation is considered inauthentic. The whole Muslim population has a bias toward radicalism.

    For example, take a look at this video shot by a student member of the Muslim Student Association at the University of Arizona. As an aside, I’ll point out that the MSA is a front organization for the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of most Muslim terrorist groups, which has instructed its members in the U.S. to “understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”

    In this clip, the Muslim yahoo berates an American Muslim chick at length for not wearing a hijab. Now the Approved Solution is for her to tell Mr. MSA that how she does her religion is none of his *$% business and to stick his objections up his $%^&. However, she seems at a loss for an answer, making excuses and defering to his more radical view as righteous. Clearly, the moderate view carries no weight in the Muslim community.

    Now, this girl looks like a sweet, cute American chick who wouldn’t harm a fly. However, if she found out that Mr. Radical Muslim was up to something, would she take action and turn him in or defer to his superior piety? I set the odds at 90% or higher that she would just zip her lip and play dumb about any knowledge she had about a crime in progress by a brother Muslim. She’s completely cowed by him.

    This is a microcosm of what’s going on in the Muslim community, where strongly held extremism trumps weakly held moderation.

  107. ammaro.com: “i’ve had two friends shot in the US by an armed thug, one of them died. don’t tell me guns save lives.”

    Were either of your friends armed? Do you think it would have made a difference to the thug when he picked his victims if he knew they were armed? Criminals will freely admit that their biggest fear is a citizen with a gun.

    I’m telling you: Guns save lives.

  108. Mahmood: “… their congregations share their thoughts but not the (Muslim) communities they fall within. As far as my experience is concerned, congregations are a very small part of the population, … it does not mean that the whole Muslim community or the Muslim world at large condones their beliefs or preachings of violence and hate.”

    A good point. It’s fair to assume there are free-floating Muslims not attached to a mosque or non-observant, a population that may be greater than observant Muslims regularly attending mosques. Even so, extremist factions holding large numbers of the mosques does not argue for the peaceful character of Islam.

    Mahmood: “Apart from that, you once again demonstrate their ignorance of Muslim facts – “taqiyya” is not practiced by Sunnis and most certainly is not believed in by the Wahabis you referred to here.”

    I realize that taqiyya is predominantly Shia doctrine, but the 12th century Sunni theologian Al-Ghazali ruled that it was acceptable:

    “Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish it through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible…, and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory. …One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those entailed by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more damaging, one is entitled to lie…”

    I might point out that the Wahhabi war against the rule does indeed approve of taqiyya. For example, the Al Qaeda manual explicitly instructs terrorists to shave their beards, lose their thobes, avoid the mosques, and dress like the infidels to execute their plots. It required quite a bit of taqiyya for the Sep 11 skyjackers to take their seats on their targeted airliners. They didn’t exactly advertise their true intentions, did they?

    CAIR is a front for the Wahhabi lobby and its entire function is to perpetrate taqiyya for its Saudi paymasters.

    Mahmood: “I hope I have sufficiently befuddled your mind on these two issues. But persevere, give us some more naive deductions to throw back at you.”

    If you insist, Mahmood, I will deliver some more. You know your happiness is my primary concern.

  109. Mahmood: “Because he’s Steve and doing what you suggest would damage his brand, which is essentially the mirror image of ul Haq and his lot.”

    Mahmood, Mahmood, Mahmood, such cynicism does not wear well on you. I can assure you that I have no desire for the reciprocal of Ul Haq’s vision of a Muslim world. I don’t demand a Christian world or a democratic world or a world where the US rules every hearth. I’m very happy to let other people live their lives as they see fit. However, I object to Muslims seeking to impose their backward and wicked religion upon me and killing en masse to make it happen. Where Islam impinges upon my liberty, you can fairly call me an extremist.

  110. underthepalmtree: “Steve, you poor misguided man.”

    Yawn. I’ve seen liberal self-righteousness before. It’s boring. It’s so much easier than thinking, though, isn’t it?

    underthepalmtree: “According to the CDC, (Center for Disease Control) more than 4,300 young people (under 24) were murdered by firearms in 2004; another 2,163 took their own lives using guns.”

    This is a rather simplistic argument and a wrong one. It’s true that people are killed with handguns in the US. It’s also true that people are saved by handguns in the US. Your argument is unbalanced because you do not include both pro and con. Even worse, you refute that anyone can possibly be saved by handguns, a self-evidently false position.

    First, the number of guns is increasing in the US, yet the number of gun homicides is decreasing along with the general decline in violent crime. If your assertion that guns cause crime was true, then there should be more gun homicides. Your own stats rebut your argument.

    Second, it’s hardly convincing that guns cause suicides. A suicidal person is not going to be stopped because he can’t find a gun. There are dozens of ways to kill yourself. Lack of a gun is not an obstacle to suicide.

    Third, your implicit assumption is that more guns means more gun homicides across the population. That’s false. As another poster noted, gun homicides occur mainly among the criminal population, or, more specifically, in the illegal drug trade. As Lott notes, almost all gun homicide victims are criminals having a police record of one or more arrests. In New York City, 38% of homicide victims test positive for cocaine in their blood. The Washington, DC police chief here said that if you analyze encounters that end in a shooting death, you can’t predict at the outset who will be the perpetrator and who the victim. That’s because in a charged encounter between criminals, it’s hard to tell who will shoot first.

    Your argument to ban guns would fall on the wrong population, which is the law-abiding citizens who do not shoot anyone. The criminals do not obey the laws. The guns they use in their crimes are illegally acquired now. If you banned guns, they would ignore the ban just like they ignore the existing gun laws now. They would have no more trouble acquiring prohibited guns, which can be made in a simple machine shop in anybody’s garage, than they have acquiring prohibited drugs.

    The young people cited in your gun death homicides are largely 19-year-old gang-bangers and drug dealers shooting each other. These are not kids in the suburbs shooting each other because their Dad has a gun in the closet. They’re young criminal predators preying on each other with stolen guns.

    Fourth, your gun ban, in the classic fashion of liberal solutions, would inflame the problem rather than solve it by disarming law-abiding citizens while leaving the criminals armed, giving them the monopoly on violence. When Australia abruptly made handguns illegal, they suffered a spike in gun homicides. The criminals no longer had to worry about their victims defending themselves and so ran riot.

    Fifth, a gun ban is a rather typical liberal overreaction. There are about two hundred million guns in the US. One in 13,000 is used in a gun homicide. Your solution is to ban those 13,000 legal guns while leaving the criminal in possession of his gun. It’s akin to banning all automobiles because one in 13,000 cars is involved in a fatal wreck.

    underthepalmtree: “I am sure that their parents would be quite comforted to hear how you saved two women from “harm” with your handgun.”

    I was asleep in my bed one morning when I was awakened by women screaming. When women are truly in peril they let loose a scream from the gut, not one of those fun movie screams or squeals you often hear. You’ll know it when you hear it.

    I looked out my apartment window to see two women treed in the second floor landing opposite me by a van idling at the foot of the stairs. I turned on the light (that was stupid) and pulled my .357 from beside my bed. The women looked over at me. There was a pregnant pause for a couple heartbeats, then the van slowly pulled away.

    I ran outside, gun in hand, and the two women ran right to me. They were thirtysomething moms who liked to walk early in the morning. The van began following them on the street. They turned into my apartment complex. The van followed. They turned again. The van followed. The ran up the first flight of stairs they saw and screamed their heads off.

    I don’t know exactly what the intentions of the guys in the van were, but it was nothing good. My gut feeling is that they intended to kidnap these women and rape them. After that, who knows what would have happenned. Maybe some hunter would have found their bones and clothes wrapped around a fenceline a few years later.

    The police were there fast, within five minutes, but that’s a long time in a crime like this. Those women could have been taken in the van and down the freeway a mile or two in that time. Had I not had a gun handy, I think that situation could have turned out very badly. However, that’s exactly where your prohibition on guns would lead. Your snarky comment demonstrates you could care less about their lives.

    underthepalmtree: “I will pray for you Steve, that no one that you love comes to harm in the crossfire.”

    I’m not impressed by your demagoguery that God is on your side nor by your presumptuous assumption of moral superiority, the mark of ideologues. It’s the hamburger helper of argument.

    Your comment also illustrates your cartoonish understanding of how guns are used in crimes. Criminals don’t shoot it out with their victims. Just like predators everywhere, they search for weak victims. An armed victim is the last thing they want. Criminals don’t stand and shoot it out with anybody. They run at the sight of a gun. They’re opportunists who are looking for an easy mark.

    underthepalmtree: “However, I am not going to spend one more minute of my time arguing with someone that is SO out of touch with reality.”

    Take care to not talk to yourself, then.

    underthepalmtree: “Everyone else…..please do not believe that “Steve the American” represents the views of most of my thoughtful countrymen.”

    Actually, support for the Second Ammendment is so strong in the US that the Democrats don’t even bring it up in their election campaigns anymore. It’s political poison to oppose the right to bear arms in America.

    And by the way, UTPT, if you want to be considered a thoughtful person, you have to actually deliver thoughts that support your positions. Demagogic rhetoric doesn’t count.

  111. a reasonable man: “Many Americans, and nearly all of the rest of the world, would have a hard time with the claim “we’re slowly winning in Iraq.””

    Many Americans, and nearly all the rest of the world, are poorly informed. Here’s what’s really happenning in Iraq, as revealed by David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency expert. Ramadi was written off as hopeless a year ago. Now our troops can walk around without body armor. Fallujah was a terrorist stronghold once. Now former insurgents are patrolling with US GIs against Al Qaeda.

    I might also point out that citing popular opinion as proof of an assertion is a logical fallacy, the argumentum ad populem.

    a reasonable man: “So even without Steve’s “order of magnitude” boast, handguns would need to have saved more than 8700 lives in order for their net effect to be life saving.”

    Of the two million gun defenses of a crime, if 1% stopped a crime from progressing to murder, that would save 20,000 lives. So I’ll retract my order of magnitude claim, and retreat to guns save as many as are killed. I could make the argument that in a well-armed community, violent crime is suppressed along with murders.

    a reasonable man: “Plus handgun-related accidents kill many more each year, all too often children.”

    Nonsense. The “children” cited in such argument are 18 and 19 year old criminals. More young children drown in buckets of water or from being caught between mattress and headboard in bed than are shot to death.

    a reasonable man: “Steve’s claim was that the two million “handgun defenses” each year save ten times as many lives as handguns take. I won’t challenge this figure too much, except to note that it is likely based entirely on self reporting and therefore probably includes many cases where an individual heard the neighbor’s cat in the night, shouted out “I’ve got a gun”, and then nothing bad happened.””

    The two million figure is John Lott’s estimate of total gun defenses in the US based on study of police reports in a representative sample of the US. My estimate of how many lives are saved out of this two million is speculative. However, it’s ridiculous to claim no lives are saved from violent crimes stopped at the onset of their perpetration by brandishing a gun.

    It’s also very telling that an ardent opponent of guns has never heard Lott’s two million estimate before, revealing an unfamiliarity with the other side of the gun control debate. You haven’t done your homework.

    a reasonable man: “According to the FBI in 2004 there were 1,360,088 violent crimes (murder, rape, assault, etc) in America and 10,319,386 property crimes (burglary, theft, etc) for a total of 11,679,474. These crimes resulted in 16,148 deaths (murder & negligent manslaughter); yielding a fatality rate of 0.13826%. Multiplying this rate by the 2,000,000 times that
    people allegedly stopped a crime with their handgun yields 2766 lives saved (rounding up). This is less than one third of the number murdered by handguns, certainly not ten times as many.

    This means Steve’s contention was off by a factor of at least 30.”

    Your math is garbled because of bad assumptions. First, you included property crimes like burglary and theft in your base of crime. These are non-violent crimes. Burglars are seeking to avoid the owners of the homes they burgle. There is very little chance that the criminal and victim will confront each other, so there is not much chance that a burglary will progress to a murder. Including these non-violent crimes waters down the death rate of violent encounters where a gun could save the victim’s life.

    If you more correctly use that violent crime number for the base you’ll find that deaths occur 1.18% of the time a criminal actually confronts his victim. I believe the rate may be higher than that, assuming that murder and manslaughter account for 100% of the deaths. Obviously, some crimes escalate from robbery to rape to homicide, so there may be some overlap in these categories.

    So, using your figures, 1.18% of two million is 23,600 lives saved by brandishing a handgun at a criminal. That’s pretty close to my guesstimate of 1%, but a little better. Thanks.

    a reasonable man: “We took what I still believe was a valid initial stand. In 2002, the sanction regime was falling apart, UN inspectors were almost completely ineffectual, and Saddam remained both committed to building a WMD capability and firmly in power. Therefore, some action by the world community was necessary. But we couldn’t sell it to our own population or our allies, so the administration increased the fear factor. They took questionable defector reports and circumstantial evidence and presented them as facts; claiming that Saddam had WMD stockpiles, was actively developing more, and was in league with al Qaeda.

    These claims all subsequently failed to stand up, gravely damaging America’s credibility.”

    Hate to break this to you, Mr. Reasonable, but the US found dozens of WMDs immediately after the invasion and have continued to find them ever since. We’ve never stopped finding them. As of about a year ago, it was up to 500 WMDs found. How does 500 = 0 in your world?

    Dulfer also found a covert network of WMD labs still engaged in low level production for purposes of research and/or terrorism. Saddam’s lieutenants said that Saddam was committed to producing WMDs full scale as soon as the inspection regime lifted.

    Saddam was informally allied with Al Qaeda. There was contact between them going back a decade before Sep 11, 2001. Their representatives met in the Sudan, a meeting which was published in the Arab and Western press before Sep 11 was even dreamed up. Iraqi agents were caught in Pakistan returning from meetings with Al Qaeda. And of course, an Iraqi agent facilitated and attended a meeting with two of the Sep 11 skyjackers plus Binalshib, an Al Qaeda plotter of the attack, in Kuala Lumpur. That’s a connection with Al Qaeda.

    You might just consider that Saddam tried to assassinate ex-President Bush in Kuwait with a car bomb, shot hundreds of missiles at our aircraft patrolling the UN-mandated no-fly zones, and put out bounties on the death or capture of our military people. Those are provocations which you omitted.

    a reasonable man: “This loss of credibility meant that when we honestly stated that we had no intention of stealing Iraq’s oil and no desire for a long term occupation, we weren’t believed. Therefore, the American “occupation” of Iraq and “theft” Iraq’s oil have become rallying cries for militants around the world, especially within Iraq.”

    Please, Mr. Reasonable, be reasonable instead of so naive. What America does or doesn’t do has little relation to its perception by the world. America is used as a boogie man in most of the world for base reasons.

    Look at Saudi Arabia. We stuffed their pockets with cash and lifted them up out of abject poverty and disease and they make the most venomous propaganda against us of all. America has a bad reputation in the world because we get horrible local press because local rulers want to pass the buck for their problems to us or want to create an external enemy to consolidate their power. Read the Third World press and you will be astonished at its dishonesty only to be more astonished at how the gullible Third World masses believe the craziest crap that is fed them.

    a reasonable man: “We painted ourselves into a similar corner with the detainees, finally getting back to where this string started. We picked up a bunch of non-Afghan folks on the battlefields of Afghanistan. Not knowing what else to do, we held onto them. When challenged, we claimed that they were all terrorists; sometimes based on the “evidence” that they were wearing the same kind of watch as known terrorists. Having made such a claim it then took us years to finally release those against whom we had no real evidence, again building up a tremendous amount of ill-will across the globe and probably creating thousands of real terrorists.”

    First, you might sit back and question your impulse that everything is America’s fault. Doesn’t it strike you that it is the Taliban and Al Qaeda’s fault that it is hard to pick out the fighters from the civilians because they refused to abide by the Geneva Convention and identify themselves at combatants? The GC was invented just to avoid these kinds of problems. By contrast, nobody had any trouble figuring out who the American combatant were. They wore uniforms.

    The US has carefully examined its prisoners at Gitmo and released most of them, of whom a couple dozen have gone back into the terror business. I’d say we’ve been too lenient.

    Nobody misses the kind of people we kept in Gitmo, like the guy who says the first thing he wants to do when released is drink American blood. Many of the Gitmo prisoners don’t want to go home because they will be leaving a rather clean, well run prison for a real dungeon back home. Their home countries see them as troublemakers they don’t want.

    a reasonable man: “Now having said all that, I really don’t see any obligation for the Government of Bahrain to pay these folks a dime (or a fil). They took a chance venturing into a war zone, and got caught up in world politics. Lucky for them it wasn’t the Soviets that picked them up, or they would likely have ended up with a bullet in the back of the head instead of a delayed return to their home country.”

    You’re still making the assumption they’re innocent. They’re not. All the innocent guys were sprung years ago. They’ve been releasing the guilty guys who were too small a fish to worry about for the last few years. Now Gitmo is down to a hard core of terrorist scumbags, mostly Saudis. They should die in prison.

  112. mahmood says:

    and calling us reptiles actually makes you better?

    I would say “shame on you Steve” but I know that would be a wasted exercise as you have no shame. This allegory plainly show your motives and your thought process. It is simply a wasted exercise to engage you.

  113. ammaro.com says:

    Were either of your friends armed? Do you think it would have made a difference to the thug when he picked his victims if he knew they were armed? Criminals will freely admit that their biggest fear is a citizen with a gun.

    I’m telling you: Guns save lives.

    so according to your twisted view of reality, everyone needs to carry a gun. everyone needs to go out, and buy one, so we can all be saved. those who don’t have accurate aim, those who are clumsy, and those who cant afford them.

  114. ammaro.com: “so according to your twisted view of reality, everyone needs to carry a gun. everyone needs to go out, and buy one, so we can all be saved. those who don’t have accurate aim, those who are clumsy, and those who cant afford them.”

    My point is that if you ban guns, then you are simply disarming the innocent and giving the advantage to the criminals. If you are under threat, the state is wrong to deny you the means to defend yourself.

  115. ammaro.com says:

    or giving them more of a chance of shooting themselves by accident

  116. mdc says:

    Ammaro,

    I am sorry for the loss of your friends, but bad things happen to good and innocent people sometimes.

    As someone who has been a victim of violent crime, I am glad I had a gun available on one occasion and wished I had on another.

    People do have accidents with guns every year even those that have used them for years or have taken shooting lessons or hunter saftey courses; it’s why they are called accidents. Not much different than having an accident with a car and killing yourself or someone else. In America we have about 40,000 people a year that die in car crashes; maybe we should ban the use of automobiles too right along with guns.

    I realize there are plenty of countries who get along perfectly fine without gun ownership; America isn’t one of them and probably won’t be for a very long time.

  117. AGA says:

    Steve: Your post isn’t really responsive to my “just so we’re clear” comment.

    The thrust of your post is that the examples of “radicalism” you’ve identified are necessarily representative of the community as a whole. In my experience, that simply is not the case. I have yet to meet (face to face) an “activist” that I actually liked. I don’t care what side of the issue, whether its abortion, some environmental issue, animal rights, hunting rights, gun rights -the NRA (“jack booted thugs”), what not, the “leaders” and those motivated to sacrifice their ordinary lives for the cause are all too often “extremists” overcome by the singular importance invested in their cause. Moderates, at least in my experience, don’t go out and protest or demonstrate.

    I’m not sure whether the anticipation generated by your characterization of the video from the Muslim Student Association from the University of Arizona created a let down for me, as I expected to see “berating,” and I actually thought that the exchange was entirely appropriate. Not much of a debate, from a substance standpoint, both assume that the hijab is the way to go, and while the “chick” at times seems to be trying to say that it is not necessary from a religious standpoint, she appears to concede that it is more proper and something Allah desires. But, so what? I don’t consider her to be an example of the “moderate” view, since to my ears, it sounded like she was saying that she was not strong or disciplined enough to wear it. That’s not a moderate view, its more the absence of an independent view. (I wish that she would have said that the valuable jewelry is under lock and key due to the actions of criminals and that the problem rests with them, not the jewels or those who would display them. But, that’s my view.)

  118. AGA: “Steve: Your post isn’t really responsive to my “just so we’re clear” comment.”

    I’ve already responded to that post, #99. I was responding to your #97.

    By the way, Mahmood, I appreciate these numbered posts. I didn’t appreciate them until I posted on blogs without them. It gets confusing. This layout for your blog works pretty well, too. I like that banner up top. It looks pretty professional. Obviously, black type on white is the preferred template. My white on black blog gets reader complaints for being hard on the eyes. The only thing I think you could add is a preview box, though I haven’t really missed it since you have the HTML code in those quicktags.

  119. a reasonable man says:

    Steve,
    I’ll start by admitting that you’ve impressed me with the sheer volume of material you can pump into this blog, 60+ paragraphs in one day by my rough count. You’re obviously committed; more on that later.

    Now in response to your comments on my posting from the last week—which wasn’t really seeking your response, just using you to make a point—I’m going to make one more attempt to drag you back into reality.

    Here’s the exchange I find most curious.

    a reasonable man: “This loss of credibility meant that when we honestly stated that we had no intention of stealing Iraq ’s oil and no desire for a long term occupation, we weren’t believed. Therefore, the American “occupation” of Iraq and “theft” Iraq ’s oil have become rallying cries for militants around the world, especially within Iraq .”

    Steve the American: “Please, Mr. Reasonable, be reasonable instead of so naive. What America does or doesn’t do has little relation to its perception by the world. America is used as a boogie man in most of the world for base reasons.”

    My point was that we have enough people out there that hate us already; we hardly need to be giving them any more recruiting material. Your comeback was essentially, ‘people will hate us no matter what we do’, missing my point entirely. Unless you assume that every single Muslim in the world already hates America and is willing to die to harm us, then it remains in our best interest to avoid encouraging the fence sitters to move into the hostile camp and those already in the hostile camp to move toward a desire to martyr themselves against us. When we needlessly squander our credibility, this task becomes more difficult.

    Which brings me to my next point; believe it or not, I’m not an ardent gun control supporter. I actually think it’s a bit of a lost cause. The handguns are out there and there’s no magic wand to make them all go away, no matter how desirable such a state might be. My heart burn was with your claim that handguns save more lives than they take by an order of magnitude.

    However, in order to refute your claim I did do a little research, and Lott’s findings are far from universally accepted; folks other than Steve might find the Brady Campaign’s site on him interesting. I especially liked the parts where he admitted to posing as one of his own students to praise his work and his claim that a computer crash wiped out the only record of the critical survey showing that 98% of the time guns were used to deter crimes without a shot being fired.

    Steve, I know very well you won’t go to this web site as you’re sure to dismiss the Brady Campaign as just another mouthpiece of the brainless left. But you don’t have to, because the only thing you said about gun control that matters is this: “So I’ll retract my order of magnitude claim, and retreat to guns save as many as are killed.”

    You can retract your claim, and I’m glad that you’ve seen at least that much reason, but the fact that you made the claim in the first place is the problem which I’m attempting to illustrate here. If you had any credibility left with members of this forum before your foolish claim, a certain percentage of it is now gone. The more often you’re caught out in such an exaggeration or misstatement, the faster that credibility evaporates. Pretty soon it will all be gone (if it’s not already); and without credibility among your audience, debate is just meaningless noise.

    This makes me wonder why you bother. As I mentioned earlier, you’ve clearly put a lot of time and effort into this blog. Are you expecting to accomplish anything other than making people angry?

    I wouldn’t normally care how a complete stranger chooses to amuse himself, but you’ve proudly identified yourself as an American while you rant and rave. I fully support our nation’s commitment to free speech, and would never seek to censor you within our borders. However, when you enter an international forum, I believe some modicum of diplomacy is in order.

    When you speak as “Steve the American” to people who may never meet an American in the flesh, you speak for all of us. So when you play fast and loose with the facts and blindly throw out one generalization after another, you’re just confirming the insidious propaganda of those regimes that seek to cover their own shortcomings by blaming all their countries’ ills on the ignorant bigoted Americans.

    So once again, why bother? I found out the other day that you maintain your own web site. I have to wonder, are you paralleling the efforts of those who destroy sacred Shia sites in Iraq in an effort to provoke sectarian conflict? Are you merely hoping to provoke outrageous anti-American responses that you can quote on your site?

    No matter your motives, I’ll ask you one last time to reconsider your tone—or at least your volume.

    Now, I’ve been around long enough to know that the likelihood of you following this advice is slim. However, I’ve also met enough people from around the world—who generally have both wisdom and common sense—that I can rest easy that most of your audience will see your silly bluster for what it is, and simply ignore it.

    Peace,

    A Reasonable Man

  120. mahmood says:

    That was quite succinct and reasonable, Reasonable Man. Well said!

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