Winograd, from another perspective

5 Feb, '08

The following cartoon appeared in Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper (thanks to Jaddwilliam for the heads-up) reflecting an alternate perspective on the findings of the Winograd Commission. However, it failed to stop me in my tracks.

Winograd cartoon in Al-Quds newspaper

The bubble says: “They admit their defeat and they hold their negligent accountable!! God curse the Zionist fads which intrude on our genuine Arab traditions!

I am unfortunately very familiar with this situation, as is the case with almost every other Arab, I suspect. Our situation is that if we do identify grave negligence or even culpability in nefarious initiatives which could destroy whole societies and puts whole countries in turmoil, is elevate those implicated and pretend that the situation never actually happened. We just continue to spout useless platitudes about our “true Arab heritage” and that “those fads are not of our make-up”. What’s more is that the very people who were elected to ensure the application of proper oversight actually become tenacious defenders of the offenders! They methodically destroy any chance at our progress as a responsible human race.

Sweeping things under the carpet is an age-old tradition.

Maybe it’s high time that we did away with old and completely bankrupt ways and learnt to face our problems head-on in order to learn from experiences and get on to a better future. If that lesson comes from whom we call enemies, then so be it. But for God’s sake let us be courageous enough to at least attempt to solve our problems.

Without accepting and recognising failures, success will continue to be elusive.

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  1. Barry says:

    Tsk, sounds like the cartoonist thinks Arab culture grew up in a bubble somehow insulated from western Ideas.

  2. Ethan says:

    If that lesson comes from whom we call enemies, then so be it.

    Didn’t Mohammed say to learn, even from the Kuffar?

    Sadly, that injuncture has been interpreted (since about the 14th century) to mean ‘learn only about weapons (to kill each other) and horrible social ideas (like national socialism and communism) that don’t expose us to free thought (because free thinkers can question religion and social mores)’

    Tsk, sounds like the cartoonist thinks Arab culture grew up in a bubble somehow insulated from western Ideas.

    It did. Maybe you haven’t noticed but Arab culture is not a product of Western influence – it’s been tribal and petty and ‘save-face-y’ since before the first proto-Bedouin carved the inscription on the rock faces near Mecca. The major problem comes from Arab societies refusal to learn from experience, and their leaders’ ineptitude at recognizing and repairing failure, or to promote progress in arts, science and ideology.

    It’s a tough pill, but from what I have learned by following Mahmood’s Den for years, it is a fairly accurate assessment.

  3. mahmood says:

    but from what I have learned by following Mahmood’s Den for years, it is a fairly accurate assessment.

    Interesting. Care to amplify on this Ethan?

  4. Ethan says:

    I would be more than glad to expound upon it, at least a bit – I don’t have the time or the energy right now to write a volume. Since Islam and Arab culture are intertwined, it’s impossible to talk about one without the other.

    My thoughts here are a bit scattershot. Take with caution. Steve, restrain the vitriol!

    I think we can really boil the Middle East down to an innate conservatism coupled with shame. The idea of Bid’ah, innovation, has been long supressed in the consciousness of the Middle East. Before someone argues that that ‘innovation’ refers only to ‘religious innovation’, I must differ – Al-Ghazali’s treatise on the incoherence of the philosophers had as one of its main thrusts the idea that an innovation is bad if it could contradict the Koran.

    Just about every bit of modern science contradicts the Koran except in very tortured readings. In fact, taken literally, the Koran promotes some ideas that medical science in the -seventh century- could disprove (i.e. sperm from the tailbone).

    Unlike in the West, whose philosophers successfully challenged the church’s theological ossification, Ghazali’s ideas took hold in the East – I would assume that the lack of a strict Sunni hierarchy contributed. If innovation that could challenge the supremacy of the Koran was banned governmentally (and strongly inhibited socially – again, shame culture) then the idea of -producing- useful arts and sciences was repressed. Even today, you can see that there are a lot of Arab engineers and Doctors – they learn the craft, but I have found in my classes that I teach, they are resistant to pick up more than the ‘useful equations’, they are not curious about the ‘meanings’ of things.

    Filter this upwards – attach an aversion to progressive thought to a government, and you end up with a government that refuses to evolve, or does so so slowly as to be ineffectual. Aversion to new ideas leads to thought control. Lack of recognition of failure leads to no penalty for screwing up – and being unaccountable to your people leads to despotism, which breeds resentment.

    Thank Allah those Jews moved in. Jews will be killed on the last day, saith Islam, and they are the natural enemy of the Ummah. The leaders can channel popular anger toward Israel!

    But even here they fail to say more than words, leading to even more widespread resentment. They don’t recognize, or they refuse to recognize the bankrupt nature of supporting the Palestinian’s “struggle” like this. To recognize failure, to fight for true justice and a better life for them would be an admission of failure, and a loss of face.

    This is rampant all over. A quick glance through Mahmood’s travails through the Bahraini leagal system shows that there are thhose who have buried their heads so far in the sand that they won’t stop failing for fear that they would have to admit to anyone, including thmselves that they failed.

    How does this all tie into culture and religion? Shame culture => fear of admitting failure. No innovation => stagnant minds.

    So it’s a trap – bad policies will continue because people are afraid to change them because if they change them, they could challenge the wrong religious authorities who have no compunction against killing people that ask too many questions.

    Solution? A wholesale cultural change in which the power of religious supression is itself surpressed. Where there is no shame in admitting failure, and one’s honor is not dependent on the actions of others.

    The West did this centuries ago. The Far East did this more recently. The Middle East -must- do it soon, or the friction may be so much as to implode the whole region and take everyone else with it.

  5. Solomon2 says:

    the very people who were elected to ensure the application of proper oversight actually become tenacious defenders of the offenders! They methodically destroy any chance at our progress as a responsible human race…Maybe it’s high time that we did away with old and completely bankrupt ways –

    The alternate approach is to reinforce the current system: give the “elected” enough weapons and soldiers and they can go out and conquer more territory and capture more resources. They will get immensely richer and throw the ordinary folk a few bits here and there for their benefit, and maybe use any leftover funds to build a monument or religious edifice. The custodians of the new building will be appointed by the “elect” to proclaim that everything new is proper according to God. There! Isn’t that progress?

  6. The tragedy of the Lebanon War was that neither side was serious about fighting it. Hezbollah was careless in its provocation, flinging hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians, without any real concrete goal in mind other than killing Jews. Israel was careless in its response, going to war but pulling its punches. It never really committed to winning. Both sides stumbled into the war and then stumbled out. All those people were killed for nothing, for no result. It’s pure tragedy.

    It reminds me of the story where the King of Wu, Ho Lu, put Sun Tzu and his theories to test by commanding him to train his concubines to fight. Sun Tzu took his orders seriously, organized Ho Lu’s 180 concubines into two companies, with his favorite two concubines as the commander of each.

    Sun Tzu carefully explained his commands to the concubines, who giggled. He gave them the commands, but they laughed in response. Over and over, he gave them the commands to receive only giggles back. So he laid out the implements of execution and brought forth the two concubine commanders to be beheaded for failing to carry out his orders.

    When Ho Lu saw his favorites being brought forward to the axe he cried out to Sun Tzu to stop, that he was satisfied with his demonstration, that without his favorites his wine would not taste as sweet. Sun Tzu coolly replied that once put in command, there were some orders he could not obey. The concubines were beheaded.

    Sun Tzu promoted the next two favorite concubines to commanders. This time, when he gave his orders, the two companies of concubines drilled in perfect order and discipline. The King of Wu gave Sun Tzu command of his troops. They went on to defeat Ho Lu’s enemies.

    The lesson here is that war is a serious business, not to be entered into frivolously. Do not enter into it half-heartedly or on a whim. If you must fight, fight to win because there is no substitute for victory.

    Ethan: “Steve, restrain the vitriol!”

    But I just topped my tank off with vitriol! Where am I supposed to spray all this vitriol if not here? Oh, wait a minute. Hillary. Never mind.

  7. mahmood says:

    That’s so sweet Steve. Could you please mail an illustrated version of that book to 2100 Pennsylvania Ave.?

    Better do it quick though, the residents will be leaving soon and I would be a real shame to miss yet another educational opportunity.

    😉

  8. Leonard Jones says:

    Eric Hoffer wrote an excellent book, The True Believer: A Study Of The Psychology Of Mass Movements. In his book, he stated that a mass movement can exist without a God, but rarely without a Devil.

    In Nazi Germany, the Jews were as he called them, a “focusing agent,” with which to direct the anger of the masses. He succeeded in stirring up hatred against the Jews so that they failed to see the boot that was descending on the German people.

    The same applies to the people of the Middle East. It’s leaders are only too happy to play on religious and tribal differences. Shia against Sunni, tribe against tribe. Deny their people basic liberties, and blame all
    of the troubles that exist in the Middle East on some outside entity, namely Israel.

    I say we nuke Israel out of existence tomorrow! At the very least, we will be able to see who the leaders of the Middle will then blame for the problems that will surely continue to exist.

    Crushing poverty for the masses while dictators have stables of Ferrari’s parked in their stately mansions. Poor Palestinians averaging less in a year than I make in a week, while Arafat was stashing billions in Swiss accounts. One party systems like Egypt, where opposition is ruthlessly crushed. Mad Mullahs in Iran executing women for showing their ankles.

    I refuse to believe that the majority of the people in the Middle East want anything less than the freedoms that I as an American enjoy. That said, far too many people in
    the Middle East buy into the “Big lie.”

    It is time for the people of the Middle East to demand individual and economic liberties, and direct their hatreds to the leaders and political systems which have for decades retarded their development.

    It is amazing what a people can do when they lose their fear. Three students were killed in the fall of the Evil Empire. The people of Lebanon lost their fear of Syria, and the Cedar Revolution resulted in the expulsion of the Syrian army. The people of Iran would just as soon have Ipods and blue jeans, and are sick of the Mullah’s.

    Take back your religion. A reformation is long overdue!

    Take back the power that rightfully belongs to you. Sic semper tyrannus.

  9. Lee Ann says:

    “Saving face” has been an inborn trait of the arabs since the first bedoin tribes roamed the deserts. If you have nothing else…you still have your pride and dignity…apparently.

    I talk to Bahrainis all the time about how the ruling family are running this country into the ground and they will rant and rave and come up with all sorts of ways in which the ruling family are cheaters, liars, greedy, thiefs etc…and yet when I ask them…”why dont you stop them…why dont you overthrow them, demonstrate to get them out…do something that relieves the ordinary Bahraini from having to suffer under this type of self serving rule…” the answer 9 times out of 10….”we cant do that….good or bad they are our rulers…we cant let the rest of the world see us as unhappy with our rulers”(something like that anyhow). So rather then cause a scandal and attempt to change the the way your country is run…get some leaders that care more about the people then their own fleet of cars…or latest palace addition…you prefer to suffer in silence then let others know what bad leaders you have? i just dont get it.

    Every single Arab/Muslim country is run by what should be considered an anti Islamic form of leadership…there are no dictators in Islam…there are no royal familys that inherit the role of leader…there are no military leaders that rule by coup and force…and yet thats all you have…and by and large the people apparently accept it…because they arent doing all that much to change it…except complain in the safety of their homes….and blame “others” for all their troubles.

  10. Capt. Arab says:

    An Arabic saying.. “النقاط على الحروف” translated as “The dots have been placed on the letters”; i.e. the carpet has been dusted..
    My opinion is unless we re-vamp our out-dated and silly educational curriculum, then nothing will change at the pace where we expect it to change.
    We always worry about what the others will think, we fail to address the wrong at the right time and love to cheer when the job is done by others, and we always say that we knew about it.
    I hope the new initiave by the Crown Prince with the economic and financial reforms will actually hold the incompetent accountable, and name and shame them through the media, maybe then will others learn.

  11. Ethan says:

    I talk to Bahrainis all the time about how the ruling family are running this country into the ground and they will rant and rave and come up with all sorts of ways in which the ruling family are cheaters, liars, greedy, thiefs etc…and yet when I ask them…”why dont you stop them…why dont you overthrow them, demonstrate to get them out…do something that relieves the ordinary Bahraini from having to suffer under this type of self serving rule…” the answer 9 times out of 10….”we cant do that….good or bad they are our rulers…we cant let the rest of the world see us as unhappy with our rulers”

    On a related note, I wonder if this is why Mohammed was such a popular figure in Arabia in the 7th century. If the Arabs of that era were as complacent with their leadership as they are today, a rabble rousing bandito would have been a breath of fresh air.

    Looking through Bukhari, there are many cases of Muslims leaving the faith in the early days – perhaps they just wanted to ride along with the caballeros and fight the power but left when they realized they would have to actually buy into the “pray five times a day shroud your women and kill who Allah says” mantra. Of course, just like Scientology, you can’t just leave Islam. You’re in it to win it, or you’re a loser (in the ‘afterlife’) or a loser of your head (in this life).

    Interesting. Mohammed as “Che Al-Guevara”? I wonder if there’s the making of a book here.

  12. mahmood says:

    I hope the new initiave by the Crown Prince with the economic and financial reforms will actually hold the incompetent accountable, and name and shame them through the media, maybe then will others learn.

    I’m no longer sure how that will work, honestly, as now the whole government ministers are on the board too!

    So what gives? Is this a face saving gesture due to the much chewed and discussed public spats of late?

    I (almost) give up.

  13. The report, or at least the summary, is entirely superficial. It essentially says they lost, and then seems to make recommendations for how they should improve themselves the next time around. This is good, in so far as we must learn from our mistakes and constantly strive to improve ourselves, our governments and our societies through grueling introspection… but this summary falls short of acknowledging any casualties other then Israeli. It makes no mention of the illegal cluster bombs that were dropped throughout the South, of which Israel has yet to provide the maps for (thankfully we have the Lebanese youth getting their arms and legs blown off to at least give us an indication of where the lot of them are). It also takes no consideration of collective bombing that occurred during the war and leveled mass sections of cities and villages indiscriminately.

    Yes its good to be introspective and seek to improve, but when the worst thing you could say is that you lost due to internal mistakes, and at no point acknowledge that you destroyed the lives, bodies and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of peoples, then you are still a loser.

    Now I should note that I am holding the Israeli government to a higher standard in this comment then most Arab governments hold themselves to. Arab governments are still in a mentality where they are so afraid to seem weak, to be dishonored or to have something out of their control going on, that they deny themselves the ability for any serious introspection until enough riots go through (and even then, the only serious result out of it is often a superficial legislation that never goes through, and an often brutal campaign against individuals that question the government). But, to argue that this report is in any way prolific, other then the fact that it acknowledges failures and that the war was a loss, is misleading. –not to say that you did Mahmood.

  14. Nine says:

    The Winograd is a true testimony to the strength of democracy in Israel. Many Arabs however, failed to comprehend that. They thought it was an admission of defeat. This is far from the truth.

    What the Israelis did is what a good parent would do to a child who scores A minus instead of the usual A plus. He may be critical of him but that does not mean the child has failed.

  15. Solomon2 says:

    What “pride and dignity” do Arabs have? What is there to be proud of? What dignities do Arabs have?

    Yet could Arabs really walk around all day, moping their own failures and vowing to do better, as other mortals do? I sometimes read Arab bloggers who blame “Arabs” or “Arab culture” for the failures of Arab societies. I haven’t yet read an Arab blogger who blames himself for such. Even Soviet dissidents like Solzhenitsyn were able to take that step, so necessary for the reform of the Stalinist police state to the more relaxed atmosphere of Khuruschev. Something in the Arab mind today seems to prevent this mea culpa from happening.

  16. steve the american says:

    T.J. Neruda,

    From what I read, the purpose of the Winograd report is to review Israel’s performance in the war and make suggestions for improvement. You seem to want it to review nonsensical propaganda against it and endorse the most baseless of it.

    For example, you claim that cluster bombs dropped by Israel last year are currently maiming Lebanese kids, an obviously false claim. Cluster bombs are anti-personnel weapons meant to suppress the fire of anti-aircraft weapons. Such guns are very difficult to neutralize with regular bombs because they are made of hard metal. Even if the gun crews are killed by a conventional bomb, often bunkered crews can re-man the guns very quickly.

    Cluster bombs are basically 600 to 800 hand grenades in a shell, meant to be spread over an area the size of a football field, to kill the gun crew and any replacements hiding near by in trenches or bunkers. Most of the bomblets detonate on contact with the ground. Others are timed to go off at random intervals for the next half hour, to intimidate replacements from manning the guns during an air attack. A few of the bomblets are inert, containing no explosives, meant to complicate the restoration of that fighting position. However, all the cluster munitions detonate soon after they hit. They’re not mines which lay around for a year waiting for people to stumble upon them. Even mines are built to deactivate themselves after a period of time.

    The endless stream of such obviously false assertions against Israel has led me to assume that any accusation of wrongdoing against it is probably false, unless proven true. Israel’s enemies are simply not credible. One can’t help but come to the conclusion that Israel’s enemies would not need to fabricate their facts if they had an honest case against it.

  17. Well Steve, I was just popping on to revoke my statement that they didn’t mention anything about it, and I noticed your wonderful comment saying that whole statement I made up there was bullshit…. well I found an article today saying they actually did mention it in the appendix, and said that the action was illegal under international law.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/949975.html

    Taken from that report: ” “The cluster bomb is inaccurate, it consists of bomblets that are dispersed over a large area, and some of the bomblets do not explode [on impact] and can cause damage for a long period afterward.” The committee thus recommended that non-military elements be involved in assessing their future use in light of international law. ”

    on the other hand… it later states

    The committee decided not to examine in depth individual complaints about violations of international law committed by Israel in the course of the war, which included claims about the selection of illegitimate targets, the use of cluster bombs, the disproportionate harming of civilians and infrastructure in Lebanon and the use of civilians as “human shields.” Instead, the committee made do with general conclusions, in part because, “We did not find it appropriate to deal with issues that are part of a political and propaganda war against the state.”

    I’m trying to skip the human rights watch and amnesty reports here, because I’m sure you will disagree with them unless “Official Sources Say” is somewhere in the line…

    Another article from Haaretz:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/761781.html

    “What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs,” the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war.

    Quoting his battalion commander, the rocket unit head stated that the IDF fired around 1,800 cluster bombs, containing over 1.2 million cluster bomblets.

    The cluster rounds which don’t detonate on impact, believed by the United Nations to be around 40% of those fired by the IDF in Lebanon, remain on the ground as unexploded munitions, effectively littering the landscape with thousands of land mines which will continue to claim victims long after the war has ended.

    Because of their high level of failure to detonate, it is believed that there are around 500,000 unexploded munitions on the ground in Lebanon. To date 12 Lebanese civilians have been killed by these mines since the end of the war.

    —- That article also mentions how most of these munitions were fired in the last ten days of the war… To this day Israel has refused to turn over the maps to where cluster bomb munitions are on the ground.

    So I was wrong in saying that the Winograd commision did not acknowledge that the weapons were illegal, but they did in fact officially state that while they were illegal, they were not going to pursue inquiries on matters that could be used in propaganda against the state. Essentially that means, they don’t want to be the official source within their government that can be quoted by people arguing that the country has committed gross illegal violations of international law and human rights.

  18. Capt. Arab says:

    Steve the American happens to be an expert in all fields… So narrow minded and out of touch from reality (not all the time), he does talk sense sometimes when he’s high 😛

    Steve’s job in this life is to spice up debates and disagree with the obvious. Me for one would really love to know his source of information.

    One question for Steve the American… Is America ever wrong?

  19. I suppose I Should follow up that post with your other accusation that “For example, you claim that cluster bombs dropped by Israel last year are currently maiming Lebanese kids, an obviously false claim.”

    Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/25/AR2006082501298.html

    Since the guns fell silent on Aug. 14, unexploded cluster bombs dropped by Israeli warplanes or duds fired by artillery have killed 12 people and wounded 39, according to Chris Clarke, head of the U.N. Mine Action Coordination Center attached to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon. Of those, two of the dead and 11 of the wounded were children.

    Thats from August 26, 2006… So right after the war ended. As you read in the last post I made, the UN has claimed that 30-40% of the cluster bombs are unexploded.

    I couldn’t find an official follow up to this aside from reports from HRW, Amnesty and the UN, which I wouldn’t be surprised if you considered biased from the start… so I’ll refrain unless you would like to entertain that non-official sources, or even perhaps Arab newspapers have a valid opinion… then I would be more then glad to point you to a number of other sources. Just give me a shout, I aim to please. 🙂

  20. Capt. Arab says:

    The Theme from the Good, the Bad and Ugly is playing right now (in the back of my head)


    Steve the American happens to be Lee Van Cliff.. You’ve been capped my friend.. Busted and Dusted..

  21. Nine says:

    Capt. Arab,
    If Steve is the bad Lee Van Cliff and T. J. Neruda is the good Clint Eastwood then you must be the ugly; Eli Wallach!

  22. mdc says:

    “Essentially that means, they don’t want to be the official source within their government that can be quoted by people arguing that the country has committed gross illegal violations of international law and human rights.”

    Duh! 🙄

    Some reason they should be held to a higher standard than anybody else in the world; or…maybe they were stalling until the official Lebanese version/evaluation of the war hit the bookstores….nice try.

  23. bikeshed says:

    sorry, but i couldn’t let such sheer and utter bollocks go unchecked…and for the record, I am neither a staunch supporter of our ‘tribal’ systems of government, nor could I be termed a ‘practicing’ muslim…Islam is not the problem here, rather, the abominations that have come to dominate the Middle East in recent history are and have prevented us from growing as a people.

    Ethan, where do you get your stuff from? Oh, sorry, a couple of texts read in translation and taken out of context, whoops. Since you favour an academic approach, I would encourage you to try Maurice Bucaille’s study of the scientific accuracy of the Koran. All I can say it that I’m glad I am not in one of your classes. Can’t remember who said it but: the most dangerous man in the world is not the one who has all the knowledge or the one that has none; it is the man who has a little and thinks he knows it all.

    Steve, The endless stream of such obviously false assertions you make has led me to assume that any accusation you make is probably false. Dude, you could at least wiki it before flying off the handle and making a fool of yourself.

    Leonard, believe what you will but there are far more people in the West who have bought into and living the “Big Lie” as well.

    Nine, not sure whether you were trying to extol or insult seeing as Eli Wallach is Jewish.

    My view of Winograd is that it is just a public relations exercise to make the Israeli people feel better about the nonsustainability of the situation they find themselves in and to paper over the widening cracks in the futile effort to maintain the ‘status quo’.

    Will any of us ever learn from our mistakes…

  24. Ethan says:

    Ethan, where do you get your stuff from? Oh, sorry, a couple of texts read in translation and taken out of context, whoops. Since you favour an academic approach, I would encourage you to try Maurice Bucaille’s study of the scientific accuracy of the Koran. All I can say it that I’m glad I am not in one of your classes.

    You probably wouldn’t get much out of it if you put any stock whatsoever in Maurice Bucaille. His work is suspect – at the level of an ‘intelligent design’ promoter at best, and an outright fraud at worst. Dr. Bucaille was paid by the government of Saudi Arabia to write a book that extolls the virtues of Islamic ‘science’ for use in Da’wa. He selectively quotes and reinterprets meanings of words. Certainly he is convincing, but so are many charlatans who will say whatever the person with the big checkbook says.

    There is nothing ‘scientific’ in the Koran in the modern sense, the information presented represents that understanding of the world in the seventh century.

    Can’t remember who said it but: the most dangerous man in the world is not the one who has all the knowledge or the one that has none; it is the man who has a little and thinks he knows it all.

    I shall most certainly agree. Unfortunately the quote should best be used against those who think they can understand the universe based on a book “written by God”. (Though actually compiled by the first Caliph based on the surviving memories and scraps of text from the surviving Muslims who weren’t killed in Jihad – see Bukhari.)

  25. A learner of Arabic says:

    Take back your religion. A reformation is long overdue!

    Take back the power that rightfully belongs to you. Sic semper tyrannus.

    Say that again in Arabic. 🙂

    We all should learn good classical Arabic and start writing Arabic-language blogs about how we as Westerners feel about Islamic terrorism, about future, about everything. Yes, definitely Steve the American too. I think he should learn Arabic and start that blog. Of course there would be conflicts and threats in the comments box, but hey, I think that one thing Arabs need is Westerners taking the trouble of explaining themselves to them, in their language.

  26. Solomon2 says:

    Islam is not the problem here, rather, the abominations that have come to dominate the Middle East in recent history are and have prevented us from growing as a people…My view of Winograd is that it is just a public relations exercise

    Not realizing what you said, you said it. Ask yourself what it would mean to you if Winograd was more than a “public relations exercise”? Do you now consider yourself free of “the abominations” you speak of?

  27. Nine says:

    Bikeshed,
    “Nine, not sure whether you were trying to extol or insult seeing as Eli Wallach is Jewish.”

    I did not know that Eli Wallach was Jewish. I was just trying to be funny with Capt. Arab who had labeled Steve as the bad guy so I labeled him the ugly one. That is all. My apologies for any offence.

  28. Capt Arab: “Steve’s job in this life is to spice up debates and disagree with the obvious. Me for one would really love to know his source of information.”

    My source of information is the -34 weapons manual I read when I was a weapon systems officer flying F-4E Phantom fighters for the US Air Force. It had a section on CBUs.

    You see, Capt Arab, if you go to a few colleges, go to a few continents, work in different jobs, read a lot, experience a lot, it will seem like you know everything to young kids like you. Sometimes, what seems obvious to the young and inexperienced is absolutely untrue, especially in the Middle East where so much that is patently false is peddled as common wisdom.

    Capt Arab: “One question for Steve the American… Is America ever wrong?”

    One question for Capt. Arab: Is America ever right? Let me answer for you: No non-Muslim power can ever be right, especially the greatest non-Muslim power in the world, right?

  29. TJ Neruda,

    Your cite of the UN as a source of your claim that cluster bomb munitions is not credible. The UN also condemned Israel for the imaginary massacre at Jenin based on the propaganda of the Palestinian terrorists. This looks like much the same thing, the UN condemning Israel for cluster bomb deaths of innocent children based on the propaganda of Hezbollah.

    Nothing that originates from Hezbollah can be believed. It could be true, it could be false, it could be something in between. They simply lie too much to ever take anything they say seriously.

    However, reviewing the stats on CBUs, it appears that there is a higher dud rate than I knew. So, I retract my assertion that civilian deaths long after the drop are impossible. They are possible, even likely.

    That given, we come to the question of why these CBUs were dropped in civilian areas. Were the Israelis targeting Lebanese civilians? In fact, Hezbollah located its military assets in civilian areas, even hiding its rocket launchers in commandeered bottom floors of civilian homes, in a cynical strategy to either play on the Israeli disinclination to bomb civilians or force them to attack their launchers and create civilian casualties they could use for propaganda. When Hezbollah uses civilians as so many sandbags to hide behind, shouldn’t they be held to account for those civilian deaths?

    While Israel killed civilians inadvertently while attacking Hezbollah rocket launchers, Hezbollah precipitated the war by launching hundreds of rockets into Israel for the purpose of killing civilians. If you condemn Israel for inadvertent cluster bomb deaths, shouldn’t you also be condemning Hezbollah for purposeful killling of Israeli civilians?

    I know you’re not going to answer these questions honestly, so let me explain your answer before you make it. The enemies of Israel don’t really believe in sparing civilian lives on either side. That is simply a moralistic pose. What they are truly for is destroying Israel. Any means that expedites that is perfectly acceptable.

    Arab Muslims always make moralistic objections to anything Israel does but exempt Hezbollah from any such moral audit. Posters here dismiss the self-criticism of the Winograd report as a publicity stunt, yet when has any Arab government, let alone Hezbollah, publicly admitted error?

    This refusal to admit error leads to more errors being made which requires more rejection of responsibility until the errors overwhelm you. There is no self-correction in the Arab-Muslim world. Every time you set out upon a destination you give the craziest person among you the wheel to drive you right off the nearest cliff.

    These high-minded objections to accidental Lebanese deaths simply won’t be taken seriously until Hezbollah refrains from purposefully killing civilians. As it is, it’s taken for granted by most Americans that anything spouted by Muslims about Israel is simply propaganda borned by Islamic bigotry which we find repulsive and unconvincing.

  30. Bikeshed: “Islam is not the problem here, rather, the abominations that have come to dominate the Middle East in recent history are and have prevented us from growing as a people.”

    Islam is the fountainhead of most of the abominations which plague the Middle East, particularly terrorism to further ever more radical practice of that religion. Mohammed’s example as an attacker of his religious rival’s caravans, his beheading en masse of his religious enemies, and his assassination of his critics provides the impetus for so much of the same today in the name of Islam. His dying wish to fight every man until the world submits to Islam has wasted your energies in fruitless fighting when it could have been better spent in collaborating with non-Muslims, a collaboration which would have advanced your prospects. Totalitarian Islam is a failed idea. Pluralism is the future.

    Bikeshed: “… I would encourage you to try Maurice Bucaille’s study of the scientific accuracy of the Koran.”

    I can hardly read that sentence through without laughing. Only ignorant buffoons claim the Koran is scientifically accurate. The Koran was patched together by a 7th century desert bandit chieftain from bits of Bedouin superstition, Judaism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism, often getting them wrong. Drunken bums sleeping on steam grates in downtown DC know more about science than Mohammed or than can be found in the Koran.

    Please point out to me where in the Koran you can find the recipe for the polio vaccine, germ theory, or the plans for the lunar lander.

    When you make such preposterous claims for the scientific accuracy of the Koran does it occur to you that most scientific inventions occurred in non-Muslim countries by people who never read the Koran? If the basics of science were all laid out in the Koran, why are Muslims so ignorant of science and have they not used science to improve their lives? Virtually everything that makes your life better was invented by non-Muslims. Why do you think that is?

    The truth of the situation is that the rational science of the West has left the superstition of Islam far behind. Goofy claims that science was actually contained in the Koran all along is a lame attempt to save face for a backward Islam.

    Bikeshed: “Steve, The endless stream of such obviously false assertions you make has led me to assume that any accusation you make is probably false. Dude, you could at least wiki it before flying off the handle and making a fool of yourself.”

    Yawn. This from the guy who claims the Koran is scientifically accurate. Did you wiki that claim?

  31. Ibn says:

    Ethan,

    As super busy as I have become, (to the point where my time spent in this blog has taken a hit), I just couldn’t sit back and listen to your main thesis put forward here. How do I say this – I think you have an open-mind, but I think your understanding is inaccurate, (some of it at least). More specifically, I claim that you are taking past events out of context, and then correlating them with modern events. Let me be more specific. In fact, let me first point out where you are right:

    The idea of Bid’ah, innovation, has been long suppressed in the consciousness of the Middle East. Before someone argues that that ‘innovation’ refers only to ‘religious innovation’,

    I agree with this. This is in fact a problem, but not for the causes which you are stating. (More on this later).

    Just about every bit of modern science contradicts the Koran except in very tortured readings. In fact, taken literally, the Koran promotes some ideas that medical science in the -seventh century- could disprove (i.e. sperm from the tailbone).

    This is also true, but there is context dropping. (More on this later).

    Now, that being said, lets analyze the following:

    Even today, you can see that there are a lot of Arab engineers and Doctors – they learn the craft, but I have found in my classes that I teach, they are resistant to pick up more than the ‘useful equations’, they are not curious about the ‘meanings’ of things.

    1) I challenge this premise. I challenge it, because I too have taught a class or two, in the engineering/natural science fields. (University level). I have had other fellow Arabs, Americans, Jews, Indians, Asians, etc. The Arabs are typically always late. (Arab standard time). The Americans always moan about how hard the quizzes are. The Jews are the loudest. The Indians are either hard-working or utterly lazy, and the Asians are very quiet. I say this in a jest-full manner of course, but the truth is, just about no one is interested in the “real meaning” behind it all.

    In fact, that curiosity for nature, for how the universe works, this thirst for an instinctive and intuitive knowledge on the inner workings and meaning of the cosmos and everything it entails, is usually indicative of the mind of a scientist. Obviously this means you have to have some degree of an open mind, but this does not mean the inverse is true. (Example: Scientist -> Open mind. Not Scientist -> Not open mind). The inverse is not necessarily true. This is your first mistake. Thus, just because one is not a scientist, does not mean he is a victim of some “shame culture”.

    2) I further challenge this premise on the basis of age. What is the age group in your student sample? – I teach at the university level, (sophomore/undergrad), and at this stage, most people are more concerned about how to pass a class, than the intricacies of the weak nuclear force that holds protons together. Arab or not. It is only when one gets to the Masters and PhD level, do you start to see individuals who are in this big time commitment because they genuinely want to know and are curious about quantum tunneling, or the abnormal psychology of a large segment of the American right. Then the interesting conversations begin.

    3) Another point of contention here, involves what ive called “Boxed News”. What I mean here, is that unless you are in a specific field, you are rarely going to hear about its multitude of research papers, discoveries, speakers, conventions, etc. And yet, this is where we expect to see most of the more open-minded folk, who are out there for discovery. As an example, I would know absolutely nothing about the latest and greatest heart-transplant procedure that has been developed, or the names of the people responsible for it, etc, since it is far removed from my field. And yet, every time I do peek, it’s Mohammad this, or Mustafa that. In short, the statistics I see of Arab and Muslim individuals who are scientists in discovery is low enough to be in line with their minority status, but high enough to be disproportional to their numbers as a minority. That says something. (Whether they are religious or not).

    And the last point against your premise:

    Filter this upwards – attach an aversion to progressive thought to a government, and you end up with a government that refuses to evolve, or does so so slowly as to be ineffectual.

    4) You are trying to show how an aversion to progressive thought at an individual level, filters into the societal level. However, as point (3) illustrates, the number of individual Arab and Muslim scientists partaking in research today, goes against your thesis of this aversion as being a rampant phenomenon worthy of mention. If anything, most Arab/Muslim scientists exist in the West, and not in the Middle East. Why is that? This shows that the aversion is at the societal level, and not the individual level.

    Furthermore – even if we were to go with the hypothesis that there was some upwards filtering going on from individuals to governments, how could we show this conclusively? We don’t even have enough iterations of Middle Eastern governments to show this.

    And finally, since we are talking about governments here, just how many Middle Eastern governments really are taking a stance against knowledge and such in the name of Islam, or shame culture?. (KSA/Iran being the exceptions in theocracies). I learned about evolution in the middle east myself growing up, and not once did I hear anyone complain about it. We went to bio class, then we went to Quran class, the bio teacher taught us about mutation of genes and evolution of species, and the Quran class taught us about how Allah banished shaitan who was a former archangel from Heaven, and how we are actually made of clay. In fact, the most noise ive seen regarding this issue has been here in the USA, with the American right wanting to weaken the teaching of evolution “because its just a theory”. My response to them is to ask them if they should terminate the space program because gravity “is just a theory” as well.)

    This is why I believe your premise here, that Arabs are not passionate regarding learning about the cosmos is fundamentally flawed, on all those levels. Your sampling space is small, your age group is probably biased towards adolescence, and you do not seem to have accounted for the disproportionate number of Arab Muslims in the research fields as scientists of discovery. (Due to one always being shielded in his own field for the most part).

    Lack of recognition of failure leads to no penalty for screwing up – and being unaccountable to your people leads to despotism, which breeds resentment.

    This is true, but for the wrong reasons as you suppose. (More later).

    Thank Allah those Jews moved in. Jews will be killed on the last day, saith Islam, and they are the natural enemy of the Ummah. The leaders can channel popular anger toward Israel!

    My agreement with you here is based on a nested disagreement. Let me explain: Yes, it is possible for an individual Imam to ask his hordes of uneducated men to hate Israel because it is Jewish, based on an outdated script, that is out of context anyway. Now, that being said, it does not mean that just because the Imam is wrong about why one should hate Israel, that Israel is not to be hated for another reason altogether.

    Example: A black man is convicted for murder, and is sentenced to death. The KKK comes out and says “Yes, let him die”. You ask “why?”. They say “Because he’s black”. Does the jury agree with the reason the KKK gave to kill this man? No. But do they agree with the action the KKK wants to be impressed upon this man? The answer is yes.

    So, I agree that the reasons an Imam might give towards his fighters to fight Israel are wrong, but I can also agree with the action or end this Imam might want, which is, the dismantling of the state of Israel. (Even then, I do not agree with a genocidal campaign against Jews, but I digress).

    But even here they fail to say more than words, leading to even more widespread resentment. They don’t recognize, or they refuse to recognize the bankrupt nature of supporting the Palestinian’s “struggle” like this. To recognize failure, to fight for true justice and a better life for them would be an admission of failure, and a loss of face.

    You imply that fighting the for the Palestinian “struggle” as you put it is not “true justice” but that forgetting about the whole ordeal and sweeping this “unfortunate event” under the carpet is “better”. Better for Israel I’m sure. One wonders why the US does not take them in if they are so concerned about their well being – or even Israel, but I digress again.

    Without even going through how this statement goes against not just any normal moral sensibilities but just human nature itself, let us consider an alternative: That the Arab leaders do not/cannot accept Palestinian refugees, not because it will “show that they failed”, but for the same reason that Americans cannot/ do not accept illegal Mexicans.
    Insert whatever psychological/cultural/economic reason you can come up with to explain the latter, ill multiply it by 10, and give you that answer to explain the former.

    And regarding loss of face – already been through that – the Arab world lost face during that black hour when the first imported boatload of illegal foreign Jews washed up on the shores of Palestine. So that’s a moot point.

    How does this all tie into culture and religion? Shame culture => fear of admitting failure. No innovation => stagnant minds.

    Again, I agree that lack of innovation comes from lack of feedback for error correction to fear of shame to admitting failure. Although, the root locus of this phenomenon is not religious in nature as you are trying to point out, but cultural and regional. Consider this: How many Israelis (Jews) have you ever talked to? They cannot, will not, ever be wrong. Ever. I have had the distinct displeasure of dealing with a variety of them, including one fellow I used to work with who would come into my office ever day, tell me that “Gaza must be nuked”, and then go on his merry way to get coffee from the kitchen. It might sound like he was joking, but he wasn’t. He made it a point to do this just about everyday, usually beginning his rants with how every Palestinian is “a ghost” or some bullshit to that effect.

    Of course, far be it from me to take this one sample and extrapolate it to the general populace, but Israelis are culturally in this sense similar to Arabs, as far as being stubborn, party to shame, etc.

    Of course, that does not explain everything – but there is one important point you have surprisingly missed in the analysis of this prevalence of shame in a culture – strength.
    What do I mean by this? Its quite simple:

    Draw your attention to the strong correlation between relative strength of a culture/nation, to the frequency and degree of its own internal (and natural) criticisms. Perhaps this is not obvious to you because its been a while since something like this has happened in the Western Conscience. The one case I can think of however would be France as it was being invaded and conquered by Nazi Germany. During this time and into the occupation, what do you think happened to Frenchmen who would claim, out in the open, that “Hey maybe we should just talk to those Germans… I mean… Im just saying… lets try to get along…”. Either he would be heard by a member of the German Armed forces and be given a spot in the Vichy government, or he would mysteriously disappear and be found in a dumpster with a bullet in his head. Who would dare, or even think to, criticize the resistance, even if they happened to be 20% efficient on all counts? No – every action taken against the German occupier would have been seen as legitimate, and every criticism against it, as traitorous, and somehow going against “Frenchness”. The hardliners would probably proclaim that “French culture is dying because of those people”. You see Ethan, when one is continuously under siege – with a strong force just waiting to pounce on you at a moments notice, its very hard to be self-critical.

    Once a nation/culture becomes more powerful and autonomous however, only then do we see a cohesiveness and increase in frequency/magnitude of naturally born “criticisms” as you say. This is because when you are in a position of strength, only then can one afford to step back, look at ones actions, be clear in the mind, and ask oneself, “Where did I go wrong? How can I streamline this?”. And from this position of strength, can ones mind be free to wander into such trivialities.

    That being said, take a guess as to which camp the Arab world falls into these days? Of course, rarely in life, are things so absolute, yet I submit that this phenomenon is a very strong motivator; on the order of, dare I say, 85%, in my estimation.

    Why is the Arab/Muslim world continuously in siege mentality? Consider the psychological effect that Sep 11th 2001 had on the psyche of the American people. Two towers go down on a sunny Tuesday killing 3000 people, and half the American electorate is all the sudden galvanized about invading this and invading that. I bet they could justify a manned Mars mission if they somehow weave it in with terrorism. That combined with Pearl Harbor makes two utterly bad days Americans had to endure in the course of say, the past 60 years.

    Now compare that with what happened in the Arab world: A full scale invasion of Jews into Palestine beginning in the 30s and 40s for the purpose of colonization and creation of a Jewish land. A full scale invasion in the 50s of France into Algeria for the overt purpose of colonization – France’s lebensraum. A full scale of Britain, France and Israel into Egypt due to the nationalization of the Suez canal in the 60s. Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in the 80s. The first Gulf War based on semi-acceptable reasons. A second Gulf War based on god knows what. And many such calamities. How many Arabs and Muslims died as a result of those?

    Its puts your losses during pearl harbor and Sep 11th to shame.

    “Peanuts!” we say. Get a thicker skin.

    Tell me, if the US was subjected to this type of constant invasions from “The Muslims”, one decade its Morocco, the next decade its Egypt, etc. How would the American people view “The Muslim world”? Take two towers down and all the sudden google is rife with comments on turning the Middle East to glass. What would it look like if those invasions were real, and happened for 60+ years? What would google tell me about American opinions then, pray tell? Talk about a bunch of hot-heads.

    What is really amazing given all this, is that Arabs and Muslims are NOT as nutty as you would expect them to be. In fact, here is another hypothesis – just as a business might not invest in an area where security is testable at best, why would an Arab want to exert himself or his business enterprise if another foreign invasion ala the West is likely? Better leave, or stay and go on a daily to daily simple life. And with security worries such as those, who has time to think about the next generation of electron microscopy? Nay – best to learn what is required, take the money, and run.

    Solution? A wholesale cultural change in which the power of religious supression is itself surpressed.

    That’s quite a broad if not openly ambiguous “solution”. The difference between you and I, is that you want to “suppress” the symptom of the problem, whereas I want to solve the underlying root causes. You want to give the patient painkillers for his headache – I want to undo the clot in his forehead. But since this clot involves Israel and the West, you won’t dare approach it. You ask us to introspect our nations. Yet you refuse to introspect yours.

    Why do I say this? Because as well intentioned as you are Ethan, you simply cannot or will not bring yourself to entertain the hypothesis that the West and Israel are behind some of the major problems in the Middle East, whether they be direct or indirect. I can already hear heavy breathing, so point your eyes towards the word “some” again. And since you cannot accept that, and you have to bring some reason into the vacuum, you start digging into the past, drawing wild tangential extrapolations on how this event caused this event caused this event, and this is why my Arab students don’t want to become scientists today.

    The Mongols have umpteen statues going towards Genghis Khan – probably the most blood thirsty warrior known to man, but no one calls the Mongols violent today, even though the man is so revered over there. Let 20 Mongolians sack a plane for some nationalistic cause, and I guarantee you among others will be the first to point to this “violent culture” who “reveres and even names its streets after Genghis Khan!”. Well, maybe you wouldn’t. But if you did, I would not be surprised. Not because you are a bad person. But I sense that your mode of thinking will easily take you there.

    So what’s the bottom line? The bottom line Ethan is that you are quite spot on regarding your observations, but you are wrong in your explanations of those observations. You place too much weight on religion per se. It is ironic but Islam tried to wipe out tribal practices such as those, along with dishonesty and pettiness, only to have this tribal phenomenon resurface into what we have today. You see those qualities in non-Muslim tribes as well, (Yazidis for example), and non-Muslim middle eastern states (Israel), and if that isn’t the ultimate proof for how religion per se is a side issue here, I don’t know what is.

    I have spent the last hour typing this up, and its already 6 pages long on my word-processor… *sigh* ..I really ought to get paid for this.

    Gnight. It IS Saturday, and Im off to hit DC’s hotspots. (No no Steve, that means to visit DC’s bars and clubs, – you can put the phone down). Hahahaha!

    -Ibn

  32. Now now Steve… First of all, thank you for your response, it was well thought out aside from calling the UN liars, or saying I was not going to answer a question honestly… but we can contest that in a different case perhaps, as you accept that it is likely that unexploded cluster shells will occur, and I hope to prove your ill thought views of me wrong.

    Second, I never did not condemn either Hezbollah or the Arab governments. I will agree wholeheartedly that Hezbollah, or for that matter, anyone else’s tactics of bombing civilians is a war crime. In that respect, the people that perpetrated the indiscriminate bombings of Israeli civilians from the Hezbollah camp, as well as those in the militias administration that allowed for it to happen, are both equally responsible in perpetrating war crimes. This is both my moral standpoint, as well as that of the international legal system. On the other hand, the damage of Hezbollah rocket attacks was highly limited (not that I am trying to absolve them of any guilt, as the UN itself stated that the relatively small amount of civilians killed was not a matter of Hezbollahs intentions, but rather the success of Israel’s emergency warning systems) the Israeli response, however, was by all accounts, an overuse of force. They deliberately targeted civilian populations, regardless of the illegality of collective punishment under the 4th provisions of the Geneva conventions. In that respect, while Hezbollah terrorized Israelis and committed war crimes, the Israeli state itself also committed acts of blatant terrorism of which the effects are much more acute on the Lebanese side. While Hezbollah only represented a portion of Lebanese society, which has been openly hostile with other facets of that society, the Israeli state responded by collectively punishing the entire country, not the organization.

    I was also very open in my condemnation of Arab governments in my first post, for never taking steps as the Winograd commission did, in terms of seeking introspection, in order to evolve their knowledge as well as their humanity. I won’t repeat that, you can reread it if you care to.

    Now, one can perhaps argue that Hezbollah had hidden behind civilians, which forced the Israeli government to collectively bombard civilian zones, leaving (by August 9th) 1020 people dead, 3,500 injured, of which most of the casualties were civilian and 30% of which children. (http://www.unicef.org/emerg/index_35274.html) On the other hand, this in no way explains the reasoning behind the bombing of the power plant in Jiyeh (causing the worst oil spill in the history of the Mediterranean), the bombing of Christian territories in Beirut (far detached from the war in the South), or the bombing of the airport which forced anyone that wanted to flee from the country to use the road to Syria which Israel also bombed. (I had family that used that road to escape, and were lucky to get out just hours before it was bombed). The Lebanese army, which also had stayed out of the conflict, lest it move into country to country warfare, were also bombed on various occasions, regardless of their non-interference when the country they were sworn to protect was being massively bombarded.

    Now, I see no justification for the bombings of civilian zones in Beirut, except that the Israeli government was trying to force a negative reaction against Hezbollah from the population at large (While this was perhaps not the official stance of the government, Israeli government officials as well as military, had both openly stated this intention). Bombing people into accepting your viewpoint does not work… Vietnam and Yugoslavia are prime examples of such.

    As far as international law is concerned… we have the Military Necessity provision. It states:

    Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute, the death of civilians during an armed conflict, no matter how grave and regrettable, does not in itself constitute a war crime. International humanitarian law and the Rome Statute permit belligerents to carry out proportionate attacks against military objectives, even when it is known that some civilian deaths or injuries will occur. A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) (Article 8(2)(b)(i)) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality) (Article 8(2)(b)(iv).

    Article 8(2)(b)(iv) criminalizes:
    Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated;

    In that respect, killing civilians to achieve military objectives is not illegal, in so far as the killing of civilians is not in excess of the military advantage.

    Now, back to the UNICEF report. 1020 killed, 3050 injured, of the casualties most were civilians and 30% were children. Does that not seem slightly excessive? Perhaps not. So lets look at the other facts detailed in the report. 1 million people were displaced, emergency food and medical supply convoys clearly marked as UNICEF were denied access to the conflict zone. Perhaps still not excessive enough. Long term and severe damage to the environment occurred when the Jiyeh plant was bombed, in clear violation of article 8(2). Ok, fuck the environment, what else? Following the war the unexploded cluster munitions fired directly into civilian zones (a clear violation of international law, while cluster bombs are technically legal, they are illegal when they are used near population centers due to their indiscriminate nature) prevented the return of families that lived in those population centers. Furthermore, the agrarian land that thousands of people depend on for their livelihood was deemed unusable till forces came in to remove the munitions from the land. In some cases, many farms are still unusable to this day.

    Finally Steve, you may feel “that anything spouted by Muslims about Israel is simply propaganda borned by Islamic bigotry which we find repulsive and unconvincing,” I am actually, an Atheist. In that respect, my only debt is to humanity, not God or ill thought religious conflicts. I try my best to look at the data objectively, and am open to being proven wrong, as it allows for me to understand the world better, rather then maintain a bigoted perspective because of my growing comfort with my views. Yes, I am in fact an Arab as well, but that amounts to nothing more then the fact that I am perhaps more inclined to accept an alternate history then that of the traditional medias, this is a matter of being brought up to understand a different perspective, but still I was also educated in American schools with the American narrative. Still, I was, up until 4 years ago, a supporter of Israel and its policies. I felt I understood, and commiserated with them and their experience, as a people and as a nation. I have only taken this counter viewpoint in the past few years, after spending a significant amount of time reviewing the literature, from Dershowitz to Finkelstein to Chomsky. I have read both Michael Oren’s Six Days of War, as well as Robert Fisk’s Pity the Nation. I have also privately studied international law and applied it to the matter. I have talked to some of the ex-Israeli pilots that refused to commit what they described as war crimes, and I have had conversations at length with American zionists who argued for the necessity of the actions of the state, in order to preserve its identity and security. I do not associate myself with Muslim beliefs, I am disgusted by overt displays of religion of God or religion of State. In that respect, please do not rope me in to a general perspective of who I must be and who I must represent simply for being a contributor to Mahmoods forum as well as a person that argues against war crimes, Israeli or otherwise. If we are to have a civil discussion, let’s not make assumptions as to who each of us are, and what each of us represents, seeing as you were wrong in your assumptions on my religion, as well as in your belief that I would not say that Hezbollah had perpetrated war crimes.

  33. An interesting argument, Ibn. I’m not persuaded that the existence of Israel causes the problems in the Arab world, though.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think much creativity enters into technical subjects the first couple years of college. I couldn’t tell you what the formulas meant that I learned in mechanical engineering or thermodynamics or aeronautics. When I asked my friends who were pulling down A’s what the formulas meant, they said don’t worry about them, just memorize them. The way to win was to be a smart monkey. Learn it now and understand it later. The same was true in accounting and coding and flying.

    When you’re at the bottom of a subject learning the basics, there’s no opportunity for creativity. You can only become creative when you’ve mastered the basics. The more technical the subject, it seems to me the longer it takes to get to the point where you can think creatively.

    You’re welcome to DC’s hot spots, Ibn. My bar days are over. My taste these days run more to quiet, lazy dinners at cheap but good Italian joints with a drink or two and talk afterwards.

  34. Let me remember, did all the Arab leaders and official says that Nasser Allah and his party Adventurers!!
    And they have lost the war!! And they are the one who started it!!! I don’t believe that Israel admitting this facet!! And Mahmood was having the same idea where you!!

  35. mahmood says:

    Well, far be it from me to make excuses, Tawfiq, but the report does not suggest that the Israelis actually “lost” the war, nor did it declare Nasrallah and Co. actually won it either.

    My position is well documented of course, and you’re more than welcome to refresh your memory of my position and argument.

  36. rocknroll says:

    BAHRAIN TO SEND AIDS TO GAZANS AND AFGHAN PEOPLES

    honest i kid u not folks … this classic on BNA

  37. rocknroll says:

    sorry i could not help myself guys…. Enjoy ……….

    BAHRAIN TO SEND AIDS TO GAZANS AND AFGHAN PEOPLES

    date: 10 02, 2008

    MANAMA, FEB. 10 (BNA) — IN ITS WEEKLY MEETING, CHAIRED IN MANAMA ON SUNDAY BY DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER SHAIKH MOHAMMED BIN MUBARAK AL KHALIFA, THE CABINET DECIDED TO PRESENT AIDS TO GAZAN AND AFGHAN PEOPLE , CABINET AFFAIRS MINISTER SHAIKH AHMED BIN ATTIYAT-ALLAH AL KHALIFA SAID IN A STATEMENT AFTER THE SESSION.
    AIDS WILL BE PRESENTED IN THE NAME OF THE KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN TO MATERIALIZE BAHRAINS SOLIDARITY WITH THE BROTHERS IN GAZA WHO LABOR UNDER ISRAELS ARBITRARY AND BARBARIAN BLOCKADE AND TO HELP THE AFGHAN PEOPLE SURMOUNT THE COLD WEATHER WAVE SWEEPING THE NORTHERN PARTS OF THEIR COUNTRY, HE ADDED

  38. rocknroll says:

    err could the wise folk in that esteemed organization please check what they write before they upload news. or is it too much to ask or should i have to put it down to that classic excuse given my everyone… OH this is Bahrain.

    sorry folks not acceptable

  39. rocknroll says:

    oops i seem to have done a BNA .. sorry for the grammatically incorrect

    “excuse given my everyone… OH this is Bahrain.”

    it ought to have read “Excuse given by everyone in Bahrain … Oh this is Bahrain”

  40. Ethan says:

    Ibn,

    Your verbose reply is very much appreciated. I apologize for not being more wordy in my reply – I’m pressed for time.

    I do teach at the college level, and have been through a US PhD program. I will also admit that part of my post’s thesis is based on anecdotal evidence.

    Arab or not. It is only when one gets to the Masters and PhD level, do you start to see individuals who are in this big time commitment because they genuinely want to know and are curious about quantum tunneling, or the abnormal psychology of a large segment of the American right. Then the interesting conversations begin.

    I have to disagree with your points here. I have seen this kind of thought amongst Arab students (with a couple of notable exceptions) both at the undergraduate and graduate level. Graduate level engineers of Arab descent seem by and large to be of a much more fundamentalist bent. I shared an office in grad school with a Palestinian who was working on his PhD in Astrophysics – and he was the exception. In fact, I felt quite comfortable talking to him about Islamic issues, even critically so.

    So there are exceptions.

    As an example, I would know absolutely nothing about the latest and greatest heart-transplant procedure that has been developed, or the names of the people responsible for it, etc, since it is far removed from my field. And yet, every time I do peek, it’s Mohammad this, or Mustafa that. In short, the statistics I see of Arab and Muslim individuals who are scientists in discovery is low enough to be in line with their minority status, but high enough to be disproportional to their numbers as a minority.

    I would not hesitate to say that this could be because of a population over-representation in the medical fields. Just around my area there are a lot of ME/Indian-named general practitioners and/or surgeons compared to their representation in the general population. This is unsurprising, because Medicine is a fairly popular job for that cultural group.

    You are trying to show how an aversion to progressive thought at an individual level, filters into the societal level.

    There is a good correspondence between this. If the majority of individuals are hesitant to do something, that filters into society as a whole. As an example, white folks in the US are hesitant to say ‘nigger’ – so when a white guy enunciates that word, he is shut down.

    How did this start? ‘Nigger’ was a common epithet in the middle of the last century. It was because of a few individuals convinced society that it was wrong.

    In fact, the most noise ive seen regarding this issue has been here in the USA, with the American right wanting to weaken the teaching of evolution “because its just a theory”.

    The anti-evolutionist cavemen in the US have some rather rich allies in the Middle East. A couple of my colleagues were rather surprised to receive an unsolicited book sent by a evolutionist group in Turkey. The thing was rather beautiful, and quite abhorrently wrong.

    So, I agree that the reasons an Imam might give towards his fighters to fight Israel are wrong, but I can also agree with the action or end this Imam might want, which is, the dismantling of the state of Israel. (Even then, I do not agree with a genocidal campaign against Jews, but I digress).

    Your analogy is flawed. It is not the KKK who would be passing judgment on anyone legally, and their opinions don’t count.

    WHY do you want Israel dismantled? Is it because of the Waqf? Is it because you have bought into the lie that Israel is some nazi-racist conspiracy? Is it because of the Jews?

    Wanting an entire country dismantled is, in itself, a form of imperialism. Israel is a legal entity. There is no reasonable reason to oppose its very existence.

    That the Arab leaders do not/cannot accept Palestinian refugees, not because it will “show that they failed”, but for the same reason that Americans cannot/ do not accept illegal Mexicans.
    Insert whatever psychological/cultural/economic reason you can come up with to explain the latter, ill multiply it by 10, and give you that answer to explain the former.

    Wow. That analogy is a stretch at best. Illegal immigration is a problem because of poor economic conditions in Mexico, and the whole debate is about the illegality of their presence here.

    Never has the US promoted the ‘struggle’ of the Mexicans against Guatemala, spewed venomous hatred against Guatemalans, and raised the ‘heroic Mexican resistance’ to the level of martyrs.

    If the US did that, and Mexicans wanted to give up the struggle and actually live like people and not some Jihad wet dream, I would be appalled if the US would bar them from coming over -freely-. Aren’t we supposed to be supporting their holy resistance against the infidel kaffir Guatemalans?

    Do you see your own words or are you just blind?

    And regarding loss of face – already been through that – the Arab world lost face during that black hour when the first imported boatload of illegal foreign Jews washed up on the shores of Palestine. So that’s a moot point.

    Last I checked, Arabs willingly sold lands in Palestine to Jews in the 1940s. I also seem to note the illegal expulsion of Jews from most Arab states after the creation if Israel. Where’s that right of return?

    Consider this: How many Israelis (Jews) have you ever talked to? They cannot, will not, ever be wrong. Ever.

    My mother and sister are Jewish converts, through them I have had the pleasure of meeting Israelis as well as Jewish folks in general. Your stereotype is completely incorrect. There is no people in this Earth more self-critical than the Jews.

    If they were more like Hamas, then maybe there would be no Palestinian problem. Because they would have all been killed. They aren’t, though, they are human.

    The Mongols have umpteen statues going towards Genghis Khan – probably the most blood thirsty warrior known to man, but no one calls the Mongols violent today, even though the man is so revered over there. Let 20 Mongolians sack a plane for some nationalistic cause, and I guarantee you among others will be the first to point to this “violent culture” who “reveres and even names its streets after Genghis Khan!”. Well, maybe you wouldn’t. But if you did, I would not be surprised. Not because you are a bad person. But I sense that your mode of thinking will easily take you there.

    Ghenghis Khan died in the 12th century. Since the end of the empire the Mongols have not been a violent civilization to the outside world. If 20 Mongolians hijacked a plane, I would not consider their culture violent. I’d consider them criminals.

    NOW.. if it turns out that Mongolian TV regularly calls for the death of non-Mongols, or that they ripped of Mickey Mouse to indoctrinate kids into violence and hate, or that their religious leaders would appear regularly with violent and suppressive ideological pronouncements about the rights of women and non-believers, or that their holy book de-facto quantifies the legality of slavery and violent war against others, and that for the past 60 years, Mongols have been fighting, raging and hating against a liberal democracy for no other reason than the Jewishness of it, then yes… I’d consider it to be part of Mongol culture.

  41. Astro says:

    I think Steve the American is winning the argument. But I bet he feels its like the Alamo!

    Just one thing folks: the constant use of “Arab Muslims” is somewhat limiting. There are plenty of Arab Christians and Arab atheists (as well as minorities like the Yazidis who’ve been mentioned) who are also pretty sore about Israel. In fact, most of them are far more nationalistic and anti-Western than their Muslim compatriots. Just ask Mr. Tariq Aziz or Adonis.

    In fact, anti-Western thought in “Dar Al Islam” has 2 streams: an Arab chauvinist element, and a fanatical Islamic element that extends well beyond the boundaries of the Arab World. Its just a parallax effect that they seem to merge from the distance of the Western (and Eastern) world.

    Frankly, the debate has now become so big that I don’t feel I can add any insights beyond this.

    😳

  42. So instead you add generalizations of Arabs? Thanks for that orientalist insight.

  43. Astro: “I think Steve the American is winning the argument. But I bet he feels its like the Alamo!”

    The good guys got wiped out at the Alamo. How about Bastogne, instead? Just saying.

    Astro: “Just one thing folks: the constant use of “Arab Muslims” is somewhat limiting. There are plenty of Arab Christians and Arab atheists (as well as minorities like the Yazidis who’ve been mentioned) who are also pretty sore about Israel. …”

    An interesting point. Brigitte Gabriel, an Arab Christian from Lebanon, says that she was indoctrinated to hate Jews and Israel as a child.

  44. T.J. Neruda: “Now now Steve… First of all, thank you for your response, it was well thought out aside from calling the UN liars, or saying I was not going to answer a question honestly….”

    Well, TJ, the UN does host many liars, among other bad people. However, I admit it was intemperate to charaterize your response negatively before you actually made it. I’ve requested my nurse reduce the appropriate medications.

    T.J. Neruda: “I will agree wholeheartedly that Hezbollah, or for that matter, anyone else’s tactics of bombing civilians is a war crime. … On the other hand, the damage of Hezbollah rocket attacks was highly limited …. the Israeli response, however, was by all accounts, an overuse of force. They deliberately targeted civilian populations, regardless of the illegality of collective punishment under the 4th provisions of the Geneva conventions.”

    Israel civilian casualties were kept low due to the efforts of the Israeli government to protect its citizens. Hezbollah civilian casualties were high because Hezbollah purposely drew fire into civilian areas as part of their strategy. Hezbollah actively tried to kill Israeli citizens and indirectly acted to get Lebanese civilians killed by using them for cover.

    The strategy of Hezbollah was to hide behind civilians so as to draw Israeli fire down on their heads, then claim Israel to be inhumanely targeting civilians, which is the propaganda line you repeat here.

    T.J. Neruda: “On the other hand, this in no way explains the reasoning behind the bombing of the power plant in Jiyeh (causing the worst oil spill in the history of the Mediterranean), the bombing of Christian territories in Beirut (far detached from the war in the South), or the bombing of the airport which forced anyone that wanted to flee from the country to use the road to Syria which Israel also bombed.”

    Power plants are at the top of the list of things to bomb in a war. It directly reduces the capability of your enemy, who inevitably depends on local electricity to power its assets. It also stresses the belligerent population, which places political pressure on the enemy to cease.

    Likewise, airports are at the very top of the list of things to bomb, along with road and rail networks. You isolate the enemy from reinforcements and resupply. This is Combat 101, the basic things any military does.

    If Hezbollah does not want these rather predictable responses to occur, it should not make war on its very capable and competent neighbor.

    T.J. Neruda: “Now, I see no justification for the bombings of civilian zones in Beirut, except that the Israeli government was trying to force a negative reaction against Hezbollah from the population at large ….”

    From what non-civilian areas did Hezbollah launch its rockets? You know, TJ, Israel released cockpit video of Hezbollah gun crews setting up their weapons in civilian streets and then being destroyed by Israeli bombs. You seem to ignore the obvious: Israel bombed in civilian areas because that’s where Hezbollah fought from.

    Your idea that Israel bombed Lebanese civilians to prompt a political reaction against Hezbollah has a Rube Goldberg quality to it. It’s rather obvious that the opinion of Lebanese civilians means nothing to Hezbollah, who simply kills anyone who disagrees with them. There is no Arab government that gives a damn what the Arab street thinks.

    The next obvious point is that civilians are not the center of gravity in war. It’s ineffective to bomb them to win. You’d be lucky to kill half a dozen civilians with a bomb. As a practical matter, you simply can’t kill many civilians from the air with conventional bombs. It’s like trying to kill the ants in your yard with firecrackers. Generally, bombing campaigns that kill civilians tend to unify the target population and increase support for the war effort.

    When you project an air campaign against a combatant country, you attack the centers of gravity to take them down. That means you hit their air defenses, airfields, telecommunications networks, power plants, road and rail nets, armor and artillery, and so on. Competent military officers know that hitting civilians doesn’t win a war. The Israelis are very competent. Terrorists, by contrast, are militarily incompetent and prefer civilian targets.

    T.J. Neruda: “Bombing people into accepting your viewpoint does not work… Vietnam and Yugoslavia are prime examples of such.”

    Actually, bombing does carry considerable weight in persuading your enemy to cease fire. Bombing Vietnam brought the North directly to the negotiation table, while the bombing halt allowed to stonewall. Bombing in Yugoslavia likewise brought the war to a halt.

    And of course, the bombing of Germany and Japan did much to defeat them in WWII.

    T.J. Neruda: “I try my best to look at the data objectively, and am open to being proven wrong, … I have only taken this counter viewpoint in the past few years, after spending a significant amount of time reviewing the literature, from Dershowitz to Finkelstein to Chomsky. I have read both Michael Oren’s Six Days of War, as well as Robert Fisk’s Pity the Nation.”

    TJ, you need to go back and hit the books again because you’re filling your head with mush. Fisk and Chomsky are polemicists. Fisk is the guy who camped out on a quiet corner of the Baghdad airport after the US military captured the terminal and reported that the US was lying about taking the airport. Fisk is as bad as Baghdad Bob. Chomsky is Fisk with a PhD. These guys are anything but objective.

  45. Fisk is the guy who camped out on a quiet corner of the Baghdad airport after the US military captured the terminal and reported that the US was lying about taking the airport.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/fisk/allies-seize-most-of-baghdad-airport-593335.html (Fisk on April 4th declaring the US Military captured the airport)

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2917381.stm (The US Government on April 4th declaring they captured the airport)

    As for objectivity, its very difficult to argue with you Steve. You are highly selective about which sources you choose to listen to, and call the others liars. UN, HRW, Amnesty, Arabic Newspapers, Eye Witnesses… all of that is off the books. You then dub Chomsky and Fisk unobjective even though Chomsky relies primarily on source materials and Fisk is one of the only non-“hotel journalists” operating in the region that produces first hand accounts, rather then recounts of government sources. So it seems that ‘objectivity’ in this case, is what you want to hear, or what you will accept thanks to it being located in a source that normally tells you what you want to hear.

    Israel civilian casualties were kept low due to the efforts of the Israeli government to protect its citizens.

    I already agreed to that here:
    “…the UN itself stated that the relatively small amount of civilians killed was not a matter of Hezbollahs intentions, but rather the success of Israel’s emergency warning systems”

    Power plants are at the top of the list of things to bomb in a war. It directly reduces the capability of your enemy, who inevitably depends on local electricity to power its assets.

    Article 8(2)(b)(iv) criminalizes:
    Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated;

    Taken from the wikipedia article “The plant’s damaged tanks leaked 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes of oil into the eastern Mediterranean Sea, comparable in size to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.[2] A 10 km wide oil slick covers 170 km of coastline,[3][4][5] was threatening Turkey and Cyprus. ” – all the cited sources in the article are correct, I’ve checked them myself.

    A visual of the spill.
    http://www.zki.dlr.de/media/download/applications/2006/lebanon/DLR_200607_lebanon_oilspill_timeseries_low.jpg
    The military

    The damage to the coast and marine life is long term and severe, endangered species that live on the coast were put at greater risk. This is clearly a violation of Article 8(2) to which Israel is a signatory member.

    Bombing Vietnam brought the North directly to the negotiation table, while the bombing halt allowed to stonewall. Bombing in Yugoslavia likewise brought the war to a halt.

    Interesting point, I was just going through all my resources on that and then realized how off topic we would get if we pursue this. Suffice to say, please pay attention to the KLA in Yugoslavia as well as the 17th parallel in Vietnam (the war was actually fought against the South, not the North, for a multitude of reasons we shouldn’t get into for now)

    Finally, I never argued I supported Hezbollah’s tactics during the war, but it is clear under international law, that when civilians are in a target zone, and the military advantage of bombing that zone is less then the cost of life, it is then illegal to indiscriminately bomb that zone. Whether Hezbollah used civilians as shields then is a different matter, I never wrote anything here in the organizations support, so you shouldn’t act like I have to defend them. Furthermore, a UN official (Humanitarian Chief) also said “Hizbullah must stop this cowardly blending… among women and children.” On the other hand, HRW reported in a follow up investigation published in 2007 that

    there were only “rare” cases of Hizbollah operating in civilian villages. Once the war started, most Hizbollah military officials and even many political officials left the villages,” … “Most Hizbollah military activity was conducted from prepared positions outside Lebanese villages in the hills and valleys around.”

    Now, if it was a systematic practice to use civilians as shields by the organization, then that is despicable. On the other hand, every source that claims the practice was systematic (not isolated) was an official Israeli government source, or a US source quoting an Israeli source. While those that deny it, were primarily formed from investigation as well as eye witness reports. I am not in the position to defend Hezbollah on this matter, nor do I feel its relevant to the discussion to do so. The argument we are having here is whether harm to civilians living in those areas could have been avoided.

    If the organization used civilians as shields from bombs, then the IDF needed to turn to a ground offensive in order to minimize the risk of civilian casualties due to indiscriminate bombing. It did not turn towards ground offensives until late in the war, and then still launched the majority of its bombing campaign during the last 10 days of the war. The heavy bombardment towards the end indicates the desire to maximize damage and casualty before leaving (once again, indiscriminately). In that respect, the use of bombs on civilian zones, whether or not Hezbollah was operating in them, is a war crime based on the principle of proportionality, given the number of civilians killed during the war relative to enemy combatants, and the post-war deaths as well as negative effects on life, such as agrarian land being cordoned off till it gets de-mined by an underfunded and understaffed UN de-mining troop.

    In other cases, civilians fleeing to the border were also targeted (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5182564.stm) and (http://www.hrw.org/reports/2006/lebanon0806/6.htm) just to give you an idea, though there are many other reports I can pull if you like.

    First you bomb various locations along the South, and destroy clearly marked and established UN observer outposts so official reports from the front line stop. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5215366.stm)Then you tell the million or so people living in the South to flee, even though they are most likely too poor to get a room anywhere, or to afford transport. You then bomb roads and infrastructure making it difficult, and in some cases impossible, for others to leave (or get in… Humanitarian convoys could not bring assistance, and were bombed in various cases when they managed to find a way in, regardless of being clearly marked). Once you have created a situation where the civilians in the area can’t leave or get aid, you then start mass bombarding the area and claim that Hezbollah is using them as shields. Again, if they were, then don’t mass bomb the multitude of civilians that have now all become trapped in the region due to your policies. Move in troops which have a lot more competency in understanding the difference between an enemy combatant and a civilian then a cluster bomb does. In not doing so, and in choosing to mass bomb instead, they caused significantly more civilian casualties then enemy combatants. That is a war crime.

    (Excuse the You and Your in the last paragraph… they are in reference to the Israeli state, not you personally Steve)

  46. TJ Neruda: “As for objectivity, its very difficult to argue with you Steve. You are highly selective about which sources you choose to listen to, and call the others liars.”

    Your cite shows an article from Robert Fisk published on Friday, April 4, 2003 correctly reporting that the Baghdad airport had been taken.
    Here is a cite from the same day where the same Robert Fisk incorrectly reports that the Baghdad airport had not been taken and claims “the Americans had been caught lying again.” He features Baghdad Bob as the real truth teller here.

    So tell me, TJ Neruda, which article Fisk wrote was correct? Are they both true? Or is Fisk lying in one of them? Would you say that somebody who backs Baghdad Bob as a reputable source for news is objective? I hope I’m not being too selective with my Fisk cites.

    I am not alone in my depiction of Fisk as a partisan polemicist. The New York Times takes him to task as well, here. However, you may be reassured to read that both you and Osama Bin Laden recommend his writing as “neutral.” Who could be fairer and more dispassionate than Bin Laden?

    Fisking” has entered the lexicon of the blogosphere as a verb meaning to take a false and misleading article to task by rebutting its many errors with facts, line by line. Fisk has even given support to the conspiracy nuts of the Truther movement.

    Honesty is not his forte. Polemicism is.

  47. Well Steve, in one fail swoop you’ve managed to completely move the topic over to a contentious issue that had little to do with the major argument, and compare me to Osama Bin Laden. My, how you work wonders. It is not my position to defend Fisk, but if you view the article here it is clearly labeled as relating to August 3rd. In the second article here , he says that the allies came under the cover of darkness, indicating that the takeover occurred between the down time it took the New Zealand Herald to print the August 3rd article, and the August 4th takeover.

    I am also very familiar with ‘fisking’, though I haven’t been able to ever get my hands on the original two articles in question. But wouldn’t be surprised to believe it, as none of us are infallible.

    Now that we’ve sorted that out, please stay with the original argument, I will not pursue topics like this that are clearly intended to stifle the argument, by bringing up non-issues.

  48. That was meant to read “but if you view the article here it is clearly labeled as relating to April 3rd.

    Forgot to put in the link and typed the wrong month.

  49. 😀 Why Hezbollah LOST the War in Lebanon!
    And the Current ‘Present’ Situation in Southern Lebanon

    By Gabriel al-Amin
    Beirut, Lebanon

    http://www.lebanonwire.com/0709MLN/07092429MN.asp

    On July 12, 2006 Hezbollah kidnapped two Israeli soldiers that led to Israel’s war with them and, by extension, Lebanon itself. Hezbollah has been on Israel’s fence since the latter’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. Israel always requested from the international community and from the Lebanese government to deploy its Lebanese Army there instead of Hezbollah militants. Hezbollah, quite naturally, refused! Hezbollah vowed to NEVER allow any other force other than itself to occupy southern Lebanon. Even during the conflict, Hezbollah said it would never agree to allow either the Lebanese army nor international monitors to patrol southern Lebanon.

    Then finally, when two IDF (Israeli Defense Force) soldiers were kidnapped, Israel found the perfect excuse it was looking for to go into Lebanon and push Hezbollah well away from the Lebanese-Israel border. Israel pursued a limited invasion and killed over 500-600 Hezbollah members during the one month war. Additionally, Israel took over every single village in southern Lebanon. During the conflict even though Hezbollah received such a blow and all its members were freaked out and on the run. Yet when the hostilities ended, Hezbollah claimed victory! But did it really win?

    Firstly, Israel agreed to a cessation of hostilities NOT because it surrendered and defeated militarily, but because of international pressure from the European Union and the United States. During this conflict Israel endured more international pressure, than it ever did in the past 10 years. Israel was put forth conditions and international agreements, such as the deployment of 15,000 Lebanese soldiers and 15,000 United Nations peace keepers into southern Lebanon, and arms embargo on Hizbollah. “This” proposal which was presented to Israel which EVEN Hzbollah agreed to accept, was something Israel was yearning for for many decades and was a once in a life time opportunity, it was a REAL “golden opportunity,” even the far right in Israel said “this is an excellent proposal, so give it a shot.” This cessation of hostilities, known as “The August Ceasefire”, was initiated by the United Nations and International Community, and was put forward before both parties, Israel and Hzbollah, Hzbollah JUMPED right on the wagon to accept, because they saw it as the only way out of the mess they got themselves into. While at the same time, Israel was more stubborn on accept this ceasefire-agreement, since they were on a winning streak. Ever since then Hizbollah has not been seen or heard from in Southern Lebanon! At long last the frail Lebanese Government has finally had a degree of sovereignty over all of its state and is finally monitoring and guarding its own borders.

    Not too long ago, nearly all television and print media images coming out of southern Lebanon were that of armed Hizbullah fighters with their guns, outposts, and banners. Not anymore! Hizbullah is now hiding under rocks in Southern Lebanon, its military might having received a substantial blow. In addition, Hizbullah is no longer enjoying the freedom and luxury of easily transferring Syrian/Iranian weaponry across the Lebanese-Syrian border or via the Beirut seaport. Much of this due to the combined efforts of a stronger Lebanese army and U.N. forces keeping a lid on such transferals.

    But even though the International Troops and the Lebanese Army keep Hizbullah in check, isn’t there still Hizullah presence in Southern Lebanon, EVEN THOUGH they are hiding “under rocks?” The same could be said for Al Qaeda presence in the United States, who are also hiding under rocks.

    Hizbullah may portray themselves as fearsome “militants” but they are in fact cowards cowering behind Lebanese civilians. Yet, through mostly pin-point targeting, the IDF dealt a heavy blow to Hizbullah. Five to six hundred Hizbullah terrorists were killed and nearly all of their bases, headquarters and tactical infrastructure destroyed.

    Some might say, “But didn’t Hezbullah manage to shoot over one hundred rockets into Israel every single day? AND why, during the war, didn’t the Israel army/air-force ever manage to stop the Katyusha fire?” Well the answer to that would be “What’s so impressive about groups of one or two rag heads pointing and setting off an unguided Katyusha southward into Israel?” In addition to the fact that Hezbullah only needed 1% of their military might in order to shoot Katyushas from their scattered fields and caves, into Israel every day. Plus, the only way to have completely stopped the Katyusha fire would have been to occupy every square inch of South Lebanon, including 20 miles north of the Litani, and to stay there for a few months. In the past 7 years, Israel wasn’t even able to curb the Qassam fire by the Palestinians.

    Israel ‘BADLY’ miscalculated Hezbullah, those past 6 years since it withdrew from Lebanon. Why? Because in 2004, it was estimated that if Israel was to engage in war with Hezbullah, their Katyusha arsenal would result in 100 deaths per day on the Israeli side, but instead only 2 people per day were killed by those rockets. But during the war, Israel came to the realization that 99.9% of all those rocket attacks, mostly result in a lot of noise and broken windows. Prior to the war it was also estimated that if Israel launched a ground invasion, it would result in the deaths of over 70 Israeli soldiers per day, which would have left over 2000 dead on the IDF side at the end of the 34 day conflict. But only 120 soldiers were killed in total, which makes it 3-4 soldiers per day. Also, prior to the war AND during the war, both the ‘poor’ Israeli intelligence and Hezbullah itself even claimed, that the “Mighty Hezbullah Rocket Arsenal” would hit Tel-Aviv, but ‘no rocket ever made it to Tel-Aviv!’ Instead, Hezbullah, tried to send little remote controlled ‘toy’ planes there.

    The reason 120 soldiers were killed in the first place, is because what would someone expect if an army deployed 30,000 soldiers squashed together in a small, tight, open space (South Lebanon)! It was amazing that after the war, those soldier didn’t all suffer from cluster phobia. But even though Israel deployed so many soldiers in the open, Hezbullah didn’t manage to deliver that harsh blow as was estimated before the ground invasion. But after all, Hezbullah didn’t fight as courageous as the Egyptians during the Suez Canal invasion, nor as the Syrians during the war in the Golan heights.

    It shouldn’t shock the world that Hizbollah bombed a couple Israeli Merkava Tanks, because even the Palestinians have done it in the past too. Blowing up a Merkava Tank is NOT an ‘uncommon’ operation. But at the same time Israel was still advancing and still taking over every village in South Lebanon, bombing every headquarter and outpost, all Hezbollah members were on the run. Even though Israel lost a couple of tanks and didn’t destroy Hezbollah, it still doesn’t mean they (Israel) were defeated militarily. The definition of military defeat, mean: to crush the other side, force it to flee and or be on the run, or force it into surrender. Israel was not defeated militarily!

    The same can be said about the Israeli naval ship that was bombed by Hisbollah of the coast of Lebanon, during the first week of the conflict, which caused a tiny bit of damage to the ship and which resulted in the deaths of 4 Israeli naval soldiers. Once again this wasn’t a military defeat, but it was an internal flaw, which meant that; Israel needed a better anti missile naval detector radar, a better anti missile interceptor, and better armor for its ship. But did Hisbollah succeed in sinking the ship and destroying it completely, did they destroy all the Israeli naval ships of the Lebanon Coast, did Israel scurry away with all its ships with its tail in between its legs, or did Israel ask for a cease-fire? NO! Instead, Israel simultaneously the same day, brought the damaged ship back into Israel for repair and sent another ship to the Lebanon Coast to replace it.

    During and after the war, Hisbollah regretted starting the war in the first place, by kidnapped the two Israeli soldiers. But Israel on the other hand, didn’t regret going to war with Hisbollah, not even 1%. In fact Israel was ready to go for round two, but Hisbollah, will not dare even consider thinking about it.

    During the fighting, many people (both inside and outside Lebanon) finally saw Hezbollah as they really are… a terrorist group. It’s strategy had little or no military value. The rockets they launched were intended to cause terror among Israel’s citizenry. They were not aimed at Israel military targets.

    Israel never managed to destroy Hisbollah. As much as the IDF might have wanted to, the wiping out of Hisbollah was not Israel’s goal. Nor could it ever be its goal. It is against the laws of physics to destroy a guerilla/terrorist group (America is learning it the hard way with Al Qaeda) since their operatives and members are always blending in and out of the civilian populations from which they so cowardly operate. In fact NEVER in history has a guerilla group ever been destroyed.

    Additionally, rescuing the kidnapped IDF soldiers without a strong intelligence as to exactly where they were hidden, would have been a nearly impossible mission, assuming they had not already been secreted out of Lebanon into Syria or Iran!

    We constantly hear phrases such “Hezb’allah emerged stronger,” “Hezb’ollah is now stronger than ever,” or “Hezb’allah is now seen stronger than before!” There is some truth to that. Since before the Israeli withdrawal of 2000, Hezb’allah was seen as more of a small arms, home made explosive, cut and run group, but during this conflict they were able to show off their Iranian made weapons. But they were no match for the Israeli army, whom they bowed down to at the end, by feeling too threatened to attack and provoke ever again.

    When the United Nations wanted to impose a 48-hour ceasefire, it was Hezb’allah which rushed to accept while Israel had to be pressured. Obviously this was because Israel had the military momentum in her favor. And when the month-long conflict ended, Hezb’allah leader, Nasrallah, remained in an underground bunker, no longer enjoying frequent visits to central Beirut, giving daily “Hate Israel” speeches, driving down to his home town of southern Lebanon or enjoying first class flights to Damascus and Tehran. Nasrallah even admitted that had he known that even one percent of this war would have gone as it had, he would have NEVER kidnapped the soldiers and thus started the war!

    “We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 … that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not.” – Hezbollah Leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, August 27, 2006

    In February 2007, there was a skirmish between Israeli troops and the Lebanese army on the Israel/Lebanon border, even though this skirmish that resulted in a shoot out and was unfortunate, the ray of light from all this, was that Israel was confronted and attacked by the Lebanese army and not by Hizb’ollah. This was one of the first signs that showed that the Lebanese army was doing its job. This was mostly due to the fact that Hizb’allah lost its kingdom in Southern Lebanon, and is NOW in constant check by UNIFL, Lebanese Army, and International Troops. At least the Lebanese army was able to stand its ground and take control, unlike BEFORE the August 11 ceasefire! At least Israel finally got its wish, after 40 years, to FINALLY have the Lebanese army in control of the border. Since August 11, 2006 when the Lebanese army began its deployment in Southern Lebanon, not a single Katuysha, let alone a singe bullet was fired toward the Israeli side of the fence by Hizb’allah. Unlike after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, when Hizb’allah would look for any excuse to shoot Katyushas into Israel at least once every three months, but not anymore. No longer will the Israeli citizens of Northern Israel will ever live in fear once again!

    People in the Lebanese Government now hate Hizb’allah, for bringing destruction to Lebanon. All of Hizballah’s southern Beirut strong posts were destroyed by Israel. Even after the cease fire, Israel stayed in Lebanon for two more months in order to destroy all remaining Hizb’allah outposts and bunkers while Hezballah stood by and did nothing. During the conflict some of the Israel/Lebanon border fence was destroyed and torn down, and Israel was in no rush to fix it, since what’s the point? Hezballah will not want to mess with the IDF again! Even until today some of that fence has not been fixed yet, since the only threat of infiltration, now, is from drug dealers smuggling Hashish across that border.

    But what about the Winograd Commission, “which is an independent Israeli government-appointed commission of inquiry, chaired by retired Israeli chief judge Eliyahu Winograd, which is set out to investigate and draw lessons from the failures experienced by Israel during the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. Which resulted in a war panel, and even the resignation of high figures such as the Israeli chief of staff Dan Halutz.” The reason THIS is currently taking place in Israel, is it goes to show that Israel is a democratic country! If a “Lebanese-Winograd Commission” would be done to Hezballah; for launching an illogical irresponsible attack on Israel, by kidnapping the two soldiers which led to the war and the destruction of Lebanon. And if a Lebanese Winnograd Commission would be done to the Lebanese government; for not controlling its southern border by allowing thuggish armed militias (Hezballah) to roam free there, allowing illegal weapon shipments via the Lebanese seaport, air port, and Syrian Lebanese border to those armed “non-governmental” militias, and allowing Syria and Iran to meddle in its politics, then Lebanon would crumble to dust! But after all, Lebanon is not a Democracy.

    Worst case scenario, the Winograd Commission and some of the failures of this war, prove, that Israel might have been defeated from within, but not militarily.

    Furthermore there hasn’t been one complaint filed against Hezballah on behalf of UNIFL and the International Troops since last year’s August cease-fire, the only complaint filed, was against the Israeli army for their over flights over Lebanese territory. Speaking about Israeli over flights, even the Israeli army itself, hasn’t complained even once, about hostile enemy fire against its planes by Hezballah. Since Israel withdrew from Lebanon in May 2000, up until the war last summer, they continued their daily over flight and breaches over Lebanese territory, only to find themselves being confronted by Hizballah anti-aircraft artillery. But after the August cease-fire Israel ‘STILL’ continued its breaches over Lebanese airspace, but this time, Hizballah hasn’t even shot one pellet at them! Maybe because they are deterred and maybe because UNIFL and the Lebanese army are now in control.

    After the war, Hizb’allah saw that it could no longer push around and bully Israel, and are therefore now trying to bully the “weak” Lebanese government by; their mass demonstration, camping out in front of the Lebanese Parliament, and political assassinations.

    Israel did loose the war last summer, but not in Lebanon, but instead in Gaza. After Gilad Shalit was kidnapped, Israel began a massive military campaign in Gaza, destroying infrastructure, entering towns and cities, going after terrorists, and also trying to stop the Qassam rocket fire. But instead, all it achieved was nothing, and the results of it were, that now, the Palestinians saw even more of a weakness in Israel. After the Israeli military campaign in Lebanon, deterrence was at least achieved, BUT unlike in Gaza, after the massive military campaign took place there (Gaza), the Israeli deterrence was lost for good, and now, the Palestinians are, even, more UNDETERRED from Israel that ever! And therefore have increased their rocket fire into Israel. In addition to the fact that as soon as Israel stopped its military campaign, Hamas and other groups said, “They are now even more determined than ever to kidnap another Israeli Soldier.” In April of 2007, they acted on their promise, under the cover of intense rocket fire on the Israel town of Sderot, Hamas terrorists again attempted to infiltrate Israel in order to abduct another soldier, but failed. A month later the militant group Islamic Jihad successfully infiltrated Israel, to also try to kidnap an Israeli soldier, but also failed. At least they weren’t afraid to try!

    After the war some Arab Governments, including the Palestinians, claimed Hizb’ullah achieved a divine victory! But hey, lets not forget, that some of those Arab governments and Palestinians which claimed Hizb’ullah won that “divine victory,” are some of those “same” Arab governments who “STILL” until today claim that Syria, Egypt, and the rest of the Arab World won the 1967 War and the 1973 War! That is why after this war Israel lost its deterrence against the Palestinians, Iran, and Syria. BUT gained heavily, its deterrence, against Hezbolah.

    Conclusion:

    People from around the world, before the August cease-fire, would have never believed nor imagined that the Lebanese army would EVER be in control of its southern border. Nor, people would have never believed Lebanon would EVER be able to establish control over “illegal” arms shipments across its Lebanese/Syrian border, sea ports, and airports, and, well, it finally is!

    Hezbolah will most likely never dare kidnap IDF soldiers because they saw the might and strength of the Israeli army, and they now feel threatened. Sure, some Hezbulah sympathizers may throw rocks, wave Hezbulah flags or scream “Allah Akbar” at the Lebanese-Israeli border fence but Hezbulah rank and file are laying low. Very low! And Hezbellah is no longer the imminent threat at that very same border.

    Since the ‘moment’ the two soldiers were kidnapped and even during the war, Israel knew, they would not succeed in getting them back, in addition to the fact that destroying a guerilla group is against the laws of physics! Once people will get those two facts into their heads, then THEY will realize that, the outcomes that were achieved as a result of this conflict, were the best possible “REALISTIC” outcomes that Israel could have achieved.

    Obviously this past year, the Northern Israeli border has been the quietest it has ever been over the past 40 years.

    By, Gabriel AlAmin
    Beirut, Lebanon

    Articles and Refernces:

    UNIFL: Not ‘ONE’ complaint filed against Hezbollah since last years cease-fire
    (Jerusalem Post 6/14/2007)
    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1181813036239&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    Again, Israeli gloom is misplaced (First Post – 4/17/2007)
    http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=1&subID=688&WT.srch=1

    Lebanese army, UNIFIL are keeping Hezbollah in check (Haaretz – 2/21/2007)
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/828765.html

    Hezbollah’s ‘Victory’? (Washington Post 9/1/2006)
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/31/AR2006083101444_pf.html

    The Lebanese Winnograd Commission (Thomas Friedman, New York Times 5/10/2007)
    http://www.theolympian.com/109/story/104847.html

    The Egyptian, 1973 October Victory (Egyptian State Information Service)
    http://www.sis.gov.eg/VR/october/english/7.htm

    Lebanon’s Army Chief “the Lebanese Army is properly controlling its borders with Syria” (Moqwama.net [Hizbollah’s Official Website])
    http://www.moqawama.org/english/_nos.php?filename=20070330111424153

    Bin Laden criticizes Nasrallah for allowing expansion of UNIFL troops (GulfNews December 30, 2007)
    http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/07/12/30/10178354.html

    😀

  50. Ibn says:

    Ethan,

    Graduate level engineers of Arab descent seem by and large to be of a much more fundamentalist bent.

    Wait a minute, wait a minute. You’re trashing. You’re splashing water all over the place. We’re not talking about the propensity of Arab graduate students to be of the fundamentalist bent. We’re talking about (your alleged) propensity of Arabs to not be “curious” about the “real meaning” in academic topics, due to “shame culture”.

    My original rebuttal to you, was that the twinkle in the eye of a potential scientist, would most likely be seen in students at the graduate level, VS the undergraduate, Arab or not. To this, you are telling me that you used to work with a Palestinian astrophysicist who wouldn’t mind critical talk on Islam.

    Please don’t mash up topics.

    I would not hesitate to say that this could be because of a population over-representation in the medical fields. Just around my area there are a lot of ME/Indian-named general practitioners and/or surgeons compared to their representation in the general population. This is unsurprising, because Medicine is a fairly popular job for that cultural group.

    Two points:

    1) I know there’s a population over-representation in the medical fields – in fact, that’s the whole point. As a medical practitioner, one has to keep up with the latest innovations, learn them, contribute, publish, and in general, push the forefronts of science. The degree that one does this in varies according to the exact medical practice of course. (Child health VS Neurosurgery).

    2) I used medicine as an example, however, the original point was that you would be hard pressed to not find an Arab/Muslim in the plethora of other research fields across the spectrum. The reason you might not come across them however, is due to “boxed news”, whereby we do not know about publications, innovations, etc, of a certain field, because we are not involved in it to begin with. Thus, as was stated before, the Arab/Muslim “infiltration” of research fields is quite obvious to the naked eye, and quite disproportionate to their population as minorities. One need only look at the journals of Science, Nature, or peer into papers from AFCEA, IEEE, or PUBMED, thereby severely damaging your initial claim.

    But let me play devil’s advocate for a moment. Let’s assume I accept your central thesis, that Arab students are not “curious” due to their “shame culture”, based on your “anecdotal” evidence. In those observations, who are those “Arab” students?

    – Are they international students on F-1 visas who just want to get their US degrees and don’t have time to pussyfoot around a lab looking for the latest sub-atomic particle?
    – Are they F-1 students who are on strict scholarship requirements that require them to 12 A’s with work/study and thus without much free time left over for cosmic thought?
    – Are they Arab-Americans who are taking a class just because they want to get a Masters and get paid more by $30k?
    – Are they Arab-Americans who are well vested in academia but don’t know what to focus on just yet?
    – Are Ethan’s classes boring?
    – What percentage of your Arab-American students are married, or otherwise well on the way to getting there? I’m told marriage is a full-time job, or a ball and chain, depending on who you ask.

    In short, what is your metric? How have you eliminated the above conditions? Did you sit down and interview them? Have you even asked them what their passions are? En masse? Even if you have, could it be that since your Arab/Muslim students are more family oriented than your average American, they are thus more easily pulled away from a life starring at Andromeda through a telescope?

    I could keep going.

    They are one thousand and one reasons why this bias could exist, before you would even start to entertain the idea of an all-encompassing and permeating “shame culture” meme. And remember, all this was with me still playing devil’s advocate, and granting you your initial premise. But even that is a stretch, because you still had to contend with the empirical evidence going head on against your central hypothesis.

    There is a good correspondence between this. If the majority of individuals are hesitant to do something, that filters into society as a whole. As an example, white folks in the US are hesitant to say ‘nigger’ – so when a white guy enunciates that word, he is shut down.

    Again, you lose sight of the original point. You claimed that since Arabs are party to this “shame culture” at the individual level, it thus manifests itself at the societal level. No change in Arabs at the individual level, leads to no change of ME governments at the societal level.

    However, like I said in the paragraphs before, this flux from individual to societal for this case does not exist, because clearly Arabs are not mentally paralyzed at the individual level, ergo, it does not follow that their governments are paralyzed due to them. There are other variables at play.

    The anti-evolutionist cavemen in the US have some rather rich allies in the Middle East. A couple of my colleagues were rather surprised to receive an unsolicited book sent by a evolutionist group in Turkey.

    True, allies would easily be found. While I hate saying this, but frankly, I believe my 17 years growing up in the ME trumps your book from Turkey in giving you insight into this anti-evolutionary subject.

    Your analogy is flawed. It is not the KKK who would be passing judgment on anyone legally, and their opinions don’t count.

    I didn’t say the KKK is in the business of legal counsel. I said it’s possible for someone to agree with an individual’s end goal, all the while finding their justifications for it abhorrent.

    WHY do you want Israel dismantled?

    Please see the various and numerous posts on the subject I have made on this blog. Most of them are in the “most popular” section. Make a left at my rebuttals to Steve’s “Why all Mooslims are responsible for Sep11th”, keep going straight, and they’ll be there.

    Is it because of the Waqf?

    The what?

    Is it because you have bought into the lie that Israel is some nazi-racist conspiracy?

    Nah, guess again.

    Is it because of the Jews?

    The Jews? Nah.. what did they ever do wrong?

    Wanting an entire country dismantled is, in itself, a form of imperialism.

    I guess I’m in good company.

    Israel is a legal entity.

    Slavery was once legal.

    There is no reasonable reason to oppose its very existence.

    Is that the 11th commandment, or something you just made up?

    Riddle me this – I am not a racist, nor am I religious, yet I wish for the annihilation of Zionist Israel – what am I?

    Wow. That analogy is a stretch at best. Illegal immigration is a problem because of poor economic conditions in Mexico, and the whole debate is about the illegality of their presence here.

    … And the Arab debate is not about the illegality and prospective citizenship of the Palestinians?

    Never has the US promoted the ’struggle’ of the Mexicans against Guatemala, spewed venomous hatred against Guatemalans, and raised the ‘heroic Mexican resistance’ to the level of martyrs.

    …Maybe because Mexico and Guatemala are not at war? Either way, non-sequitor.

    If the US did that, and Mexicans wanted to give up the struggle and actually live like people and not some Jihad wet dream, I would be appalled if the US would bar them from coming over -freely-

    So why doesn’t the US take in the Palestinians? If you’re going to tell me something along the lines of “because they’re all Jihadists”, then why would any Arab countries want to touch them either?

    Do you see your own words or are you just blind?

    Easy now. You were doing so good.

    Bottom line: The Arab nations will not take the Palestinians on the same grounds the US will not take the Mexicans. Furthermore, your implication that the US will absorb refugees “if they actually want to live like people” is untrue. The US refuses to absorb 11 million illegal Mexican workers. That’s about 3% of the populace. The US refuses to absorb Afghan refugees who still linger in Pakistan, from the Soviet war. The US refuses to absorb refugees from the many tribal wars in Africa. The US even had a record for barring entry of many refugees fleeing Europe’s WWII, many holocaust survivors included. And in today’s Iraq, the US has admitted a grand total of … wait for it… 700 Iraqis as refugee families, while Sweden has allowed about 70,000. Last I checked, Jordan has about 2 million.

    Yet we continue to hear howls of anger over why the Arab nations with populations much smaller than the US’s won’t take in the millions of Palestinians or Iraqis in the Diaspora. If you’re so concerned about the poor Palestinians, why don’t you take them in?

    Last I checked, Arabs willingly sold lands in Palestine to Jews in the 1940s.

    Last I checked, buying property didn’t mean you had the right to piss in a circle and declare a new state.

    I also seem to note the illegal expulsion of Jews from most Arab states after the creation if Israel. Where’s that right of return?

    The same place the right of return is for the Palestinians who were initially killed and displaced?

    My mother and sister are Jewish converts, through them I have had the pleasure of meeting Israelis as well as Jewish folks in general. Your stereotype is completely incorrect. There is no people in this Earth more self-critical than the Jews.

    Your sister and mother are probably Ashkenazi. Thus, they fit into my model of strength-leads-to-self-criticism as outlined in my post prior. They are probably inheritors of the Western conscience of being in a position of power. A lot of Israelis are Sephardic in background, that is, they are Middle Eastern Arab Jews. They have many of the same characteristics and mannerisms as their Arab Muslim counterparts, leading to further ammunition against your initial thesis that “shame culture” (if it even existed) has any bearing on religion.

    If they were more like Hamas, then maybe there would be no Palestinian problem. Because they would have all been killed. They aren’t, though, they are human.

    The Irgun, Palmach, Stern Gang, and many of Israel’s founding terrorists were not only similar to Hamas in style, but similar to them in brutality. You can’t found a country by being a pansy. They knew that very well.

    Now that they are in a position of strength however, they can afford to pretend to “listen” to world opinion, debate this strategy over that, criticize, and talk it out. Again, this is what one does when he is in a position of strength. I would be very curious to see how “human” your sister and mother become when some entity does to Israel what Israel did to Palestine. “Oops! There goes the third temple! Oh well.” Heh, yeah.

    or that their holy book de-facto quantifies the legality of slavery and violent war against others,

    Ethan, when the Qur’an was written, invasions, brutality, slavery, conquest and forced conversions were the currency of the time. That culture which was strong survived. That which was weak, perished. It was the ultimate experiment in Darwinian social dynamics. (With room for exceptions and anomalies of course).

    if it turns out that Mongolian TV regularly calls for the death of non-Mongols

    Ethan, US television regularly calls for the extermination of terrorists. What did they ever do to you? Oh Sep11th! Oh that’s right. Take down two towers and the Americans throw an “extermination of terrorist” hissy-fit. But invade, colonize, and occupy a land, and its inhabitants aren’t allowed half the hissing.

    or that they ripped of Mickey Mouse to indoctrinate kids into violence and hate

    Depends on what you’re professing to violently hate now doesn’t it? Why do Americans hate terrorists, and wish massive violence upon them Ethan? Now ask yourself the same question about the Palestinians and the Arabs. Why would they possibly have beef with Israel? Why would the Christians, Druze, and Atheist Arabs as well?

    raging and hating against a liberal democracy for no other reason than the Jewishness of it

    There is nothing liberal about Zionism. Zionism is an ethnocentric tribal ideology, that conflicts directly with anything “liberal”, especially the classical liberalism that many Western countries are founded on today.

    There is nothing liberal about asking a country how we are going to survive when members of a certain ethnicity/religion begin to outnumber us. That is Zionism for you.

    And that is why they deserve to be destroyed.

    -Ibn

  51. Aliandra says:

    Ibn;

    Your analogy with illegal Mexicans is poo. The US gave amnesty and legal residence to millions of undocumented Mexicans in the 1980s. Americans happily hire them to the point that 10 million of them are living in the US. In addition, the US grants the American born children of those illegal Mexicans citizenship, provides them with education, and government assistance if needed. The treatment of the Palestinians by the Arab countries is not even comparable.

    The Arabs were hardly the only people to see land lost to foreigners during the wars of the last century. Other people have lost a lot more territory than you have(see a map before and after the world wars). Rather than harp on age-old grievances, or pander to hypernationalist prejudices, the governments and populations concerned have agreed that what was lost was unrecoverable, and the best way forward was to reconcile and make peace with old enemies, rather than continue with irrendentist claims that encourage a self-defeating and endless state of conflict. The millions of refugees created by those wars were resettled in new places, and they and their descendants granted citizenship. They were not left in camps for generations to be used for jingoistic propaganda or to be torqued up by demagogues into self destructive extremism. Nor do the various governments, six decades later, insist on a right of return for their descendants to the second, third, and fourth generation.

    There’s a lesson to be learnt here.

  52. Anonny says:

    Nor do the various governments, six decades later, insist on a right of return for their descendants to the second, third, and fourth generation.

    There’s a lesson to be learnt here.

    A certain group of people aggressively claimed a right of return after millenia. Was that OK by you?

  53. Anonny says:

    Sorry, “millennia”.

  54. Nine says:

    Thank you commentator number 49 for the article by Gabriel Alumni. What a great article!

    Recently a female Gulf academic have stated similar things and suggested that an Arab Winograd report should be commissioned.

    She has criticized Hezbollah for triggering the war and for claiming a “godly victory” amidst the mass destruction.

    The response to her has been mostly negative and she even received threatening calls for daring to be critical. What a difference? A tale of two cities perhaps! A city that looks at a not so complete victory as a defeat and a city that looks at a complete defeat as a victory!

  55. Aliandra says:

    Annony;

    No.

  56. Ibn says:

    Aliandra,

    The US gave amnesty and legal residence to millions of undocumented Mexicans in the 1980s.

    Aliandra, the Mexican amnesty program launched in the 1980s was primarily due to cold war motivations, and not because anyone felt sorry for the poor Mexicans.

    You see, in the 1980s, Reagan realized that illegal Mexicans were crossing the border for work, for prosperity, and for freedom. With their naturalizations, came the message that people would go through hell and back, just to come ashore to the USA for freedom and work. This was directed towards the communists, and was intended to show the superiority of the capitalist system.

    Back then, no one made as big of a fuss about “national suicide”, there was no minutemen movement nearly as large as today’s that patrolled the border on the look out for “felons”, and Americans on the right-wing didn’t seem too concerned about the “cultural and linguistic slow death” of the United States. They were all to happy to point out that Communism blows – just look at how many people risk their lives to come to our shores – and we welcome them as well.

    Fast forward 20 years, there is currently no organized ideological resistance to capitalism and the US per se, so today not a day goes by without O’Reilly and his allies making sure they take a stab at those pesky “illegal felons” who are “invading” the United States.

    Thus, your assertion that the 80s amnesty occurred – while true – does not have its groundings on anything altruistic at all. Rather, it was just another convenient tool to exploit against the biggest enemy at the time – Communism.

    Americans happily hire them to the point that 10 million of them are living in the US. In addition, the US grants the American born children of those illegal Mexicans citizenship, provides them with education, and government assistance if needed. The treatment of the Palestinians by the Arab countries is not even comparable.

    Aliandra, American people happily hire them, but the American government tries everything in its power to penalize those same Americans who do try to hire them. Why is that? (And when you answer that, note that it’s the same in the Arab countries vis-à-vis the Palestinians. In that, the government will try to make them un-hirable, but ordinary people will always give them under the table jobs).

    Furthermore, your point here that the US gives citizenship to children of illegal aliens is a moot point – the US gives immediate citizenship to anyone who is born on its soil, illegal or not. In contrast, Arab countries do NOT give immediate citizenship to anyone who happens to be born there, again, illegal or not. It’s an immigration policy, and every country has the right to set its own.

    So, it’s not like the US woke up one day and said “Oh you poor poor Mexicans! Come! Immediate citizenship for your babies!”. It’s just always been the case – the 14th amendment asserts it. (Originally meant to guarantee citizenship for descendants of former slaves). The same amendment, that you neo-cons are trying to modify today, understandably so, because the thought of Hispanic “anchor babies” would in fact send chills down the spine of any card carrying xenophobe.

    And lastly, you claim that the US gives those illegals welfare, and education, and while true, this would not be so if the same people harping about the Palestinian treatment by Arabs had their way – namely, and end to welfare for illegals, and an end to free medical/educational privileges, as paid for by the American tax payer. But even this is a moot point, because Palestinians are in fact allowed to go to school in their host countries anyway. (It would be in the hosts’ country’s interest to allow them schooling, than have umpteen youths roaming the streets with nothing to do).

    Rather than harp on age-old grievances,

    Aliandra, this is not an age-old grievance. It’s a rather new grievance, barely a century old. Furthermore, the Palestinian problem – while not unique in its refugee effects certainly – has the distinct honor of being labeled the only conflict where the aggressor is so blatantly supported by the world community. Furthermore, unlike previous engagement that resulted in mass exoduses of people, this one continues to happen today. One only need study the Israeli actions in the West Bank. (I don’t think FOX has any documentaries on the subject matter however).

    hypernationalist prejudices

    Fighting an occupier makes someone hypernationalist? Hmm. Never thought of it that way. 

    They were not left in camps for generations to be used for jingoistic propaganda or to be torqued up by demagogues into self destructive extremism.

    …So why don’t you take them?

    Nor do the various governments, six decades later, insist on a right of return for their descendants to the second, third, and fourth generation.

    As someone already pointed out, we live in a world where it is morally acceptable for certain groups to come “back” after 5000 years. Well, this group wants to come back after 50. They had a right to bomb their way in? We have a right to bomb them back out. 10 times over.

    -Ibn

  57. Ibn says:

    Nine,

    Read that interview with two grains of salt. Usually, anyone who claims that “we are the decendants of Phonecians” is nothing more than a Phalangist nationalist.

    The Phalagists were/are a Christian faction that played a big role in the Lebanese civil war. Her claims that Lebanon “opened the door” to the Muslim Palestinian refugees is simply untrue.

    Furthermore, bear in mind that Phalangists closely allied with the invading Israeli forces during the invasion of Lebanon in 1982. They were also the culprits in the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla, in which over 3000 Palestinian men, women and children in those refugee camps were taken out of their homes, separated, and then sysmematically mowed down with machine gun fire over 18 hours.

    I should add the disclaimer however, that although the Phalangists claim they are a “Christian” militia, they are “Christian” only like the mafia or Don Corleones are Christian. In other words, by name only.

    Her interview on FrontPageMag is a typical phenomenon these days, in which right-wing Western Presses will target and interview “locals” from the middle east, usually those who have an ax to grind with some other group. Its a win-win. The one middle eastern dissenter gets to taint another group, while the Western Press can claim “authenticity” because they are in fact interviewing a middle easterner, so they must know what theyre talking about. Its the equivalent of me going to Berkely, and asking for their view on the American right-wing, which I am sure will be completely biased.

    For further information on the Lebanese civil war, I would recommend “From Beirut to Jerusalem”, by Thomas Friedman. I do not care for the author himself too much, however he does provide an eye-account of the war’s intricacies, as they unfolded. Usually, one group would play the other off in the eyes of some Western agency. As I read his book he was mostly preaching to the choir, but for someone like you, I would highly recommend it as a great introduction.

    -Ibn

  58. mdc says:

    “It’s an immigration policy, and every country has the right to set its own.”

    Including Israel?

    “Well, this group wants to come back after 50. They had a right to bomb their way in? We have a right to bomb them back out. 10 times over.”

    Ibn, I do so enjoy reading your “stuff”. The expression “have your cake and eat it too always comes to mind” after all these years.

  59. Anonny says:

    They had a right to bomb their way in? We have a right to bomb them back out. 10 times over.

    Two wrongs make a right? We differ, Ibn. The cost in terms of civilian dead is way too high.

  60. Anonny says:

    Forgive me Aliandra but you seem to be very one-sided on this issue.

    What has been visited upon Palestine (for want of a better name) since 1948 is just plain wrong – however badly the Palestinians have behaved since then. The whole issue needs an honest appraisal and non-partisan discussion with all the interested parties of the world. That has yet to happen.

  61. Ethan says:

    Furthermore, the Palestinian problem – while not unique in its refugee effects certainly – has the distinct honor of being labeled the only conflict where the aggressor is so blatantly supported by the world community.

    That is true. The ‘world community’ has supported the Palestinian struggle for some time now. It is actually quite hard to find someone who is completely and utterly supportive of Israel to the point of brooking no criticism of it. It’s very easy to find someone who will justify the murder of Israelis.

    I’m replying to one right now. Hi Ibn!

    We have a right to bomb them back out. 10 times over.

    Let me know how that goes. Seems like ‘bombing them back out’ has led specifically to the destruction of Arab armies, the crushing of Arab cultures and polite society under the yoke of ’emergency laws’ and the wide support of barbarism across the Middle East; not to mention the human toll of the Palestinians who have to suffer from overpopulation and war because of their fellow Muslims’ pride.

    Israel on the other hand, during that same time, has developed more useful technological innovations, world-renowned scientists and books than the whole of the Arab world has produced in say.. the past
    millennium.

    Seems like keeping the cycle of violence going by ‘bombing them 10 times more’ is not exactly a winning policy. I suppose that Allah’s getting his martyrs, and that’s all that really matters, right? ‘We love death’ and all that. I’m sure he’s just -loving- it.

    Or maybe it’s an obvious sign that he’s unhappy. Maybe the Jews were his ‘chosen people’ after all. Now wouldn’t that be ironic?

  62. Ibn says:

    Mdc,

    “It’s an immigration policy, and every country has the right to set its own.”
    Including Israel?

    I said country, not terrorist cell. 😉

    Ibn, I do so enjoy reading your “stuff”. The expression “have your cake and eat it too always comes to mind” after all these years.

    Aww, so sweet of you mdc! Im glad that you enjoy it mdc. Its nice to hear that my hard work raises a readers’ intellect from time to time. You make me blush, my dear. 🙂

    It’s very easy to find someone who will justify the murder of Israelis.
    I’m replying to one right now. Hi Ibn!

    Hi Ethan! Tell me, were you part of the 50% of Americans who “justified dismantling Iraq thus justifying the murder of Iraqis”?
    I am told that approximately 5000 Iraqi military personnel were killed during the invasion. How did you respond to their “murders”?

    Let me know how that goes. Seems like ‘bombing them back out’ has led specifically to the destruction of Arab armies, the crushing of Arab cultures and polite society under the yoke of ‘emergency laws’ and the wide support of barbarism across the Middle East; not to mention the human toll of the Palestinians who have to suffer from overpopulation and war because of their fellow Muslims’ pride.

    Ethan, there are many ways to skin a cat. On a tactical and strategic level, the past Arab wars were nothing to be proud of. (Egypt did make impressive gains in the 1973 war, at least initially), but all in all, the Arab wars against Israel were not maintainable from the beginning. The lack of respect of individual rights in Arab countries means that its population of 300 or so million could never be mustered against a racist gang of 4 million colonizers. That is the real tragedy. Arab armies are more fit for domestic squashing than for real defense in any sense of the word.

    However, where past Arab actions and political systems in the past have been lacking, their motivations have been pure in regards to the issue of Israel – its total annihilation. In this sense, we have the moral right, but currently, with no means to realize them. This obviously needs to change, if the Arab world is ever going to be able to defend itself from foreign invaders, both in the short term and the long term.

    To be fair however, the Arabs did manage to muster something impressive in 1973 under Sadat, and thank god for Operation Nickel Grass, (thanks America!) lest the Zionist dream would have entered the history books.

    Israel on the other hand, during that same time, has developed more useful technological innovations, world-renowned scientists and books than the whole of the Arab world has produced in say.. the past
    millennium.

    True. It doesn’t hurt to have the world superpower giving you approximately $3 billion a year in military equipment and $ 7 billion a year in economic assistance, along with $500 million per year of free tax revenues from occupied Palestinians who must pay taxes towards the occupying state but never see a penny of it. All this, divided over a population of 6 million. But im sure that has nothing to do with it.

    However, in the interest of being fair again, the Arab world does need a massive economic overhaul. Capitalism must be embraced, and old socialistic tendencies which breed state control need to be removed. Free trade will allow the Arab world to leverage its 300 million strong populous towards becoming the next economic power house. We have the brain power. We have the natural resources. We have have the capability.

    Seems like keeping the cycle of violence going by ‘bombing them 10 times more’ is not exactly a winning policy.

    Agreed, one needs to make sure his own house is in order, before attacking his enemy. Plus, im not a big fan of cycles of violence – a defensive war must be executed either fully, or not at all. This means no potshots. While they may be morally right, they don’t really accomplish much.

    Like South Africa, Israel will need to dismantle its Zionist enterprise. If this happens by its populus reading books over hot chocolate, or through a mushroom cloud over Tel-Aviv, then so be it. I certainly would prefer the former method, but if it came down to the latter, my only concern would be which direction the wind was blowing in that day. Otherwise, I would sleep just dandy.

    Or maybe it’s an obvious sign that he’s unhappy. Maybe the Jews were his ‘chosen people’ after all. Now wouldn’t that be ironic?

    Hmm, a god that puts 6 million of his human creations into ovens. Maybe he meant “Chosen for termination”?

    Oh, and I replied to your other texts in Post # 50.
    Good day!
    -Ibn

  63. Ethan says:

    I am told that approximately 5000 Iraqi military personnel were killed during the invasion. How did you respond to their “murders”?”

    Hi Ibn! Tell me, do you know of the logical fallacy called tu quoque? It’s knocking at your door!

    Also, deaths of soldiers in a war between uniformed armies is not murder. Maybe you should read the rules of war sometime.

    However, where past Arab actions and political systems in the past have been lacking, their motivations have been pure in regards to the issue of Israel – its total annihilation

    I can call for genocide too! Look..

    However, where past Papist actions and political systems had been lacking, their motivations have been pure in regards to the takeover of the Holy Land by infidel Muslims – their total annihilation.

    Wow. That was refreshing. Blind hatred is so easy, no wonder some many fall into its sway – you don’t have to think, you just classify some group as non-human and then make the spilling of their blood legal!

    True. It doesn’t hurt to have the world superpower giving you approximately $3 billion a year in military equipment and $ 7 billion a year in economic assistance, along with $500 million per year of free tax revenues from occupied Palestinians who must pay taxes towards the occupying state but never see a penny of it. All this, divided over a population of 6 million. But im sure that has nothing to do with it.

    Last I checked, the petrostates that cry crocodile tears about the ‘plight of the Palestinians’ have trillions in liquid assets.

    Why didn’t they do the same thing for Palestine? Oh right. They don’t want a resolution so they can continue to repress and destroy their people in the name of religion and resistance. Way to go Ibn. You’ve bought into the animal farm. Are you one of the Pigs?

    I certainly would prefer the former method, but if it came down to the latter, my only concern would be which direction the wind was blowing in that day. Otherwise, I would sleep just dandy.

    I’m sure you would. Myself, I would sleep just dandy if the nukes didn’t stop at Tel Aviv and hit Jerusalem, Ramallah, the Gaza Strip, Medina, Mecca, and Damascus.

    You know, just to be fair and all that. They’re just brown people in a far away land. I mean , gosh.. I wouldn’t want to be racist now would I? Who needs those silly Jews and Muslim holy sites anyway? They’ve never given anything good at all to the world. I SCOFF AT THE MILLIONS OF DEAD. HA HA HA.

    I read your post in #50, found it too long and not snarky enough, so I have ignored it. Inshallah, I’ll get to demolishing your primitive barbarian world-view some more later.

  64. Nine says:

    Ibn,

    I am sorry but I think you got it wrong in your comment no. 57 to me. You compelled me to read the article by Gabriel Alumni again. I could not find any references to “we are the decendants of Phonecians”. It seems you were referring to another article!

    Having said, I am glad that I have re read the article by Gabriel Alumni. It makes compelling arguments as to who won the war that Hezbollah triggered. Hezbollah not only lost but it lost catastrophically.

  65. jared says:

    hate shapes you.

  66. Ibn says:

    Nine,

    I know what the source of confusion is: You thought I was talking about Gabriel the author. I was actually referring to Briggite Gabriel, referenced in post # 43. (The interview).

    Ethan,

    Also, deaths of soldiers in a war between uniformed armies is not murder. Maybe you should read the rules of war sometime.

    Ethan, every civilian in Israel is a soldier. Every citizen in Israel is conscripted to join the army for at least two years. Both males, and females. There is no distinction, even they say so themselves.

    But lets say you’re right, that the death of soldiers in war is not murder, but the death of civilians is. How is that different than what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Were civilians not intentionally targeted? As usual, a westerner will say: “Yes .. but..”.

    Here you have a case where the West targetted and massacered about 200,000 Japanese civilians, for the bombing raid of Pearl Harbour. Had Japan not surrendered, the US would have annihilated the entire country, without flinching. “Yes Ibn, but that wasnt racist! You see, we just wanted to uhh… end the war! Yeah thats right.”

    Whereas here, we have a colonizer force who has not just done a pin prick equivalent of Pearl Harbour, but had the audacity to actually settle on our land after 5000 years.

    Imagine that. Japanese forces bomb Hawaii, and then settle in Seattle. What would you do? ‘Negotiate’ with them while ‘renouncing’ violence?

    What hypocrisy. How utterly, utterly disgusting. You want the Arabs to “renounce” violence so that anything you dictate to us in the West is followed word for word – without us daring to raise objection or resist.

    You would like nothing than for the entire Arab world to become your puppy dog bitches and kiss your shoes. (Kinda like the way it currently is). We dare object to Israel – its ideology – its actions – its existance, and our culture is drawn into question, our religion desecrated, and our countries sanctioned.

    It was but 50 or 60 years ago before we saw the last disgusting vestiges of official Western colonialism, but somehow WE are the violent conquerors because of actions taken 1400 years ago.

    For every Israeli occupier that is killed, an Israeli aircraft sees it fit to level an entire gaza city block. You apply a 1:100 ratio to us, but how dare we apply the same to you. You applied the 1:1000 ratio to Japan, but all the sudden we are Jew-hating racists if we decide to be the numerator of that ratio in our own defensive conflict.

    It is us who should be interrogating you, us who should be questioning you, who should be quizzing you, on your ulterior motives, on your violent history, and on your talent for justifying every incursion in to Arab land. As colonizers. Are zionists. As ‘liberators’. It’s always something with you people.

    The West claims it is Christian. Israel claims it is Jewish. None is technically true. You people do not worship the monotheistic god of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad.

    No, you worship Mars. God of bloodshed, war, and eternal civil strife. He is your true god. Every Israeli, a walking breathing altar to him.

    And here you are lecturing us.

    -Ibn

  67. Nine says:

    Ibn,

    Confusion is sorted out thank you and I even managed to read the interview with Briggite Gabriel!

    The interview is one sided but I shall reprint one sentence. She says that while at school in Lebanon “All I heard was Israel is Satan, Israel the devil, Israelis are demons, and they are the source of the problem in the Middle East. The Jews are evil, they are unstoppable and they want to control the world. I heard nothing but hatred toward the Jews.”

    Is it not true that is what Arab kids learn at school?

  68. Ethan says:

    Ethan, every civilian in Israel is a soldier. Every citizen in Israel is conscripted to join the army for at least two years. Both males, and females. There is no distinction, even they say so themselves.

    Uniformed soldiers. A soldier not in uniform is not a uniformed soldier, and is a civilian.

    Is it that hard for you, Ibn? Or do you really “hate Jews that much that common sense trumps your understanding of Law?

    But lets say you’re right, that the death of soldiers in war is not murder, but the death of civilians is. How is that different than what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Were civilians not intentionally targeted? As usual, a westerner will say: “Yes .. but..”.

    Please, Ibn, oh wise and moral guide who is equal to Allah in his own mind, please do put words in my kufr mouth.

    Yes. In fact civilians were targeted (although there is some evidence that Truman was told that Hiroshima was a military target), and a state of declared war existed between the Empire of Japan and the United States at that time. The attack of Nagasaki was not in retaliation for a bombing of Pearl Harbor, as your inferior education may have taught you. Pear harbor was a tactical error on the part of the Japanese. The declaration of war was not presented before the attack as it was supposed to have been.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a desperate ploy to end the war before the proposed X-Day invasion, which would have been an intolerable loss of life on both sides.

    It is also important to note that as WW2 dragged on, each side of the battle violated many of the norms of warfare. May I point out the Rape of Nanking, the Blitz, and the Holocaust. However, the Fourth Geneva convention was not ratified until 1949.

    It is us who should be interrogating you, us who should be questioning you, who should be quizzing you, on your ulterior motives, on your violent history, and on your talent for justifying every incursion in to Arab land. As colonizers. Are zionists. As ‘liberators’. It’s always something with you people.

    Actually, it should be the Berbers, the Syriacs, the Chaldeans, the Copts, the Gnostics, the Zoroastrians, the Jews, the Yazidis and others who should be doing the questioning if you want to talk about violent history.

    I seem to recall there being 1400 years of violent history that is ongoing between Arabs and those groups which once were the civilization of the lands that you claim as the Waqf.

    Don’t start in to lecture on history, Ibn. You’ll find that the wholesale slaughter of indigenous peoples, destruction of their civilization and replacement by the victors is not a Western or Mongol trait alone.

    The West claims it is Christian. Israel claims it is Jewish. None is technically true. You people do not worship the monotheistic god of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad.

    The West hasn’t claimed itself “Christian” for a long time.

    But you’re right at least in one thing. The God claimed by Western Christians is not the “duo-monotheistic” Allah/Mohammed. According to any reading of the Bible, Mohammed is not, and cannot be a Prophet. Therefore he is a liar.

    He, you see, denies the divinity of Christ – according to Christian theology, a prophet that denies that is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

    Joseph Smith, on the other hand, is a Prophet. Interesting that. I don’t see Mormons blowing up anything. I see a lot of Muslims acting out the wolf-part.

    As for the Jews? They deny both Christ and Mohammed as innovations. So the New Testament and the Koran is just so much worthless squiggles to them. Who should they care if you don’t think they worship the same God as you? They obviously don’t.

  69. Loki says:

    Ibn – well said, some very very good posts.

  70. Aliandra says:

    Ibn;

    So why don’t you take them?

    Um, because we think that those who complain the loudest about the Palestinian Causeâ„¢ should be the ones putting their money where their mouths are.

  71. Aliandra says:

    IBN: It doesn’t hurt to have the world superpower giving you approximately $3 billion a year in military equipment and $ 7 billion a year in economic assistance, along with $500 million per year of free tax revenues from occupied Palestinians who must pay taxes towards the occupying state but never see a penny of it. All this, divided over a population of 6 million. But im sure that has nothing to do with it.

    You’re right, it doesn’t. The Palestinians have received more international aid per capita than any other people in the world*. The Palestinians have stolen it, pissed it away in corruption and cronyism, given it to the families of suicide bombers, etc. Arafat had millions stashed in private accounts all over the world. Suha Arafat walked off with 20 million USD when he died. Surely, that money could have used to give every Palestinian a college education, or even a nice villa in Dubai.

    The Palestinians are not poor and miserable because they lack funds. They are poor and miserable because they consistently choose theft and corruption over development and responsible governance.

    On a secondary point, you should note the fact that the most prolific spillers of Arab blood are other Arabs, not Imperialist Crusader Pigs or Extremely Evil Zionists. Your angst needs to re-proportionalized.

    * link
    ed: above link reformatted for clarity

  72. Ibn says:

    Loki,

    Bless your heart.

    Aliandra,

    Um, because we think that those who complain the loudest about the Palestinian Causeâ„¢ should be the ones putting their money where their mouths are.

    Aliandra, we arent the loudest ones complaining about the Palestinian Cause – Israel is. The Israelis dont seem to like it very much. But I agree. Maybe they should heed your advice and take in all the Palestinian refugees.

    Suha Arafat walked off with 20 million USD when he died. Surely, that money could have used to give every Palestinian a college education, or even a nice villa in Dubai.

    Why not in Haifa?

    The Palestinians are not poor and miserable because they lack funds. They are poor and miserable because they consistently choose theft and corruption over development and responsible governance.

    Hmm …Responsible Governance…

    You will get no argument from me that much of the Palestinian leadership is awash in cronyism and corruption.

    That being said however, “development” and “responsible governance” means you have a country to start off with. Secondly, when you do get your country and its under occupation, a “responsible government” will take it upon itself to defend the country and destroy the occupier.

    “Responsible Governance” in the Palestinian case means a strong capitalist system takes hold. This means that Palestinians have 100% control over their own imports, and their own exports. Israel will never accept this.

    “Responsible Governance” in the Palestinian case means a strong educational and economic system be fostered, whereby Palestinian students major in anything they damn well please, without being dictated to by the Jews next door.

    “Responsible Governannce” in the Palestinian case means the state development in a strong police force, Domestic Gaurd, and National Army. The police will take care of crime and petty disputes, assuming they do not need to stop at Israeli checkpoints that is. The Domestic Gaurd will make sure Israeli spies from Shin-Bet who infiltrate the homeland and play off one Palestinian family against another at gunpoint are rounded up and punished. And the National Army will take it upon itself to prepare for, study, and defend the homeland from any incursion whatsoever. Somehow I again doubt our Jewish friends next door would like that.

    But lets switch gears:

    The type of “responsible governance” Israel would accept, would be the building of Palestinian universities that ban students from majoring in Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering. Instead, botany and PhD’s on the sexual behavior of jellyfish will be emphasized. (In fairness to the Israelis, the Mediterranean is in fact full of jellyfish).

    A “responsible government” in the eyes of our Israeli masters would also report and submit to Israeli dicate on imports and exports. The importation of tactical and military or even industrial know-who would be banned, but god-bless the Israelis, they do allow us to import rugs from Iran.

    A “responsible government” in the eyes of our Israeli big brother would not allow us to develop industries that compete with their own. The water rights of water tables directly underneath our feet will be contested. No, do not create your own factories for industrial equipment, machinery, or vehicles – just stick to your falafel and hummus stands.

    This is life in your (and Israel’s) idea of “responsible governance”.

    This, my dear Aliandra, is what you and your ideological Israeli allies would like to see:

    You do not want us to gaze into microscopes and telescopes for the sake knowledge in and of itself. You want us to gaze into them, because you do not want us to to look up every once in a while, see your true colors, and start gazing at you instead.

    -Ibn

  73. Ibn says:

    Oh, and Aliandra,

    I dont know if it was your intention to make me howl in laughter, but no sonner had I clicked on your link to “Honest Reporting” and begun to read the article, that I got an ad from the site telling me to:

    “Support Israel. Earn rewards”.

    Well, I guess they are honest – honest about their pro-Zionist stance that is.

    And honesty, I can respect. 😉

    -Ibn

  74. Nine says:

    Ibn,
    Still waiting to hear of your response to my question above (comment no. 67).
    Regards,

  75. Ibn says:

    Nine,

    My apologies – I had completely forgotten about your post.. but here goes:

    The interview is one sided but I shall reprint one sentence. She says that while at school in Lebanon “All I heard was Israel is Satan, Israel the devil, Israelis are demons, and they are the source of the problem in the Middle East. The Jews are evil, they are unstoppable and they want to control the world. I heard nothing but hatred toward the Jews.”

    Is it not true that is what Arab kids learn at school?

    Well Nine, that is a big question. My short answer to you is that I do not have sufficient information on all (or a statistically sound sample) of current school cirricula in the Arab world, which numbers about 300 million people across 22 nations.

    What I can do however, is relay my personal experience, as well as that of other colleagues I have had. (If Mahmood sees this maybe he can talk about this subject from his school days as well, along with that of his kids).

    One variable here also is time – from the looks of her, I would say she is old like 50 something, whereas I am in my mid-20s, so things might have changed.

    Amazingly, yet another seemingly inconsequential variable here is semantics: For example, you may or may have not noticed this, but a lot of Arabs refer to Israelis/Zionists as simply “Jews”. To be honest with you, I dont like this, because it muddles the conflict, but at the same time, I understand where it comes from. It is akin to current Americans on the right-wing who simply refer to terrorists as “Muslims”, or, when trying to talk about a terrorist attack, will simply say “It was done my Muslims”. Thus, in the same vein, Arabs throughout the conflict have just come to call the Zionist occupiers as simply “Jews”, which is technically true.

    With that in mind, what the author is saying is that there was a lot of hate/anger directed towards Israelis, growing up. If you are asking me how prevalent that anger is, I would have to say very much. If you are asking me how prevalent is teaching cirricula demonizing “Jews”, (which 80% of the time is meant to refer to Israelis/Zionists), then I would say that is probably prevalent very much so as well, but probably more so along those countries bordering or near the Zionist Entity.

    From my personal experience, I didnt really care for politics as an adolescent, and didnt really hear much about the Israeli-Arab conflict growing up either.

    Hope that helps.

    -Ibn

  76. Nine says:

    Ibn,
    Thank you for your response. I must admit that I too do not have many details about what goes on in Arab schools but I think there is a lot of truth in her statement. There is a lot of hate directed towards the Jews and this has been going on well before the creation of the State of Israel. Not that the Arabs are unique in that. However, the Europeans have come to terms with their history, have admitted their mistakes and tried to make amends with the Jews. Perhaps the Arabs should do the same. After all they were not particularly as bad towards the Jews as the Europeans were. I for example, read somewhere that the Jews fled with the Arabs when the last of the Arab kingdoms fell in Spain!

  77. Ibn says:

    Nine,

    There is a lot of hate directed towards the Jews and this has been going on well before the creation of the State of Israel.

    Nine, thats quite a loaded statement. What evidence do you have to support this position?

    Remember, since day one, this has been a conflict against Zionists. This started in 1917, with the Balfour declaration. In 1948, the Zionists became Israelis. The fact that they happened to be Jews is irrelevant. They could have been Norweigian transvestites, and you would still have the same conflict. Because at heart, it is territorial.

    Now, lets switch gears and talk about non-Zionist Jews, in recent history: Arab Jews never had it as bad as their European counterparts. During the Inquisitions, Jews took refuge in the Muslim Ottoman Empire. When the German government asked the Morrocan King to hand over his Jews during WWII, the King told them to go f*** themselves. During the holocaust, the government of Iran forged Iranian passports to Jewish escapees so that they could leave France and Germany and come to Iran. In fact, the whole point behind Jewish-Zionist pioneers even coming into Muslim/Arab land was because they were not going to be persecuted. Ironic isnt it?

    So do not muddle the issues. There are Zionists. There are Jews. The conflict centers around the former, not the latter. It was only after the creation of the state of Israel that the line demarkating the two became muddled, but there was no “Jew hatred” as you understand it to speak of.

    However, the Europeans have come to terms with their history, have admitted their mistakes and tried to make amends with the Jews. Perhaps the Arabs should do the same.

    Nine, you are comparing apples with oranges. The Europeans’ hostility towards the Jews was based on nothing but racist bigotry. However, the Arab bigotry towards Zionists (who happen to be Jews) was and is based on territory.

    They are two completely different issues.

    To make it even simpler: A group is demoized because they are ethnically different. This is not the same as that same group being demonized because they are occupiers and conquerors.

    They are worlds apart.

    -Ibn

  78. Nine says:

    Ibn,
    I respectively disagree. Year one was not 1917. Rather, I would say it was around 600 AD. That was 14 centuries ago!

    There is no point denying this. Arabic literature be it religious or not is full of it.

    There is also no need to talk about Arab / Muslim acceptance or leniency towards the Jews in comparison with the Europeans. I had already mentioned that in my earlier post above. This is at least on thing that we agree on.

    So let’s not muddle the issue as you say!

    The Europeans’ hostility towards the Jews may have indeed been based on racist bigotry but the Arab bigotry towards the Jews was definitely not based on territory, not prior to the 20th century anyway. It is goes deeper than that.

  79. Ibn says:

    Nine,

    I respectively disagree. Year one was not 1917. Rather, I would say it was around 600 AD. That was 14 centuries ago!

    Nine, I ask that you not mince words:

    1) The ZIONIST (Z-I-O-N-I-S-T) – Arab conflict started in 1917.

    2) Muslim VS non-Muslim tensions started in 600 AD.

    It bequethe’s you to be accurate.

    Before I go on, lets clarify your statement(s), and what you want to talk about. Are you talking about Zionists-Arab tensions? Or are you referring to Muslim-non-Muslim tensions?

    -Ibn

  80. Nine says:

    Ibn,

    The whole discussion started when I asked you about what Briggite Gabriel said ” I heard nothing “at school” but hatred toward the Jews.”

    I think the statement is very clear and I was very clear too. However, you seem to want to muddle the issue by talking about Zionists, the Belfore Declaration and Arab hospitality towards the Jews. Anything but the issue!

    You want to make a distinction between the Jews and the Zionists. Well there may be a distinction but that is not the issue my friend here. The issue is Arab hatreds towards the Jews.

    You say it started in 1917 or perhaps there never was one. I say it has been there from 6oo AD. You can not deny that. It is well documented.

  81. Ibn says:

    Nine,

    The issue is Arab hatreds towards the Jews.You say it started in 1917 or perhaps there never was one. I say it has been there from 6oo AD. You can not deny that. It is well documented.

    Well Nine, it looks like youve got it all figured out!

    Umm, ok – yes yes, you are 100% right, us Arabs have always, currently do, and always will “hate Jews” as you say.

    Thank you. Obviously, you have the spirit of a true scientist.

    -Ibn

  82. Nine says:

    Ibn,
    I shall take that as an admission!

    Now that we have agreed on that we should figure out as to how to overcome those historical hatreds and prejudices.

    I truly believe that the first thing that we should all do wherever we are is to teach our children that all people are the same, that human life is precious and that all humans should be treated with respect and dignity. I am sure you will admit to that too.
    Regards,

  83. Ibn says:

    Like I said, youve got it all figured out.

    -Ibn

  84. Ethan says:

    Tut tut, Ibn.

    The brave person admits that they are wrong, not merely admits that Nine is right. 😉

  85. Ibn says:

    Ethan,

    My only error, was not trying hard enough to portray my past two posts’ severe sarcasm. Afterall, it is somewhat hard to do over an comments’ box on the internet.

    -Ibn

  86. Nine says:

    Ibn,

    I rest my case.

    It was great debating you.

    Good luck.

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