Flamesem & Japesem (while Laughing at the Ground)

There is no outcry because our popular culture is thoroughly rotten.

There reaches a point where you have to say it: I believe in evil. Satan is laughing.

Map of Whole Hell - Destination of Purveyors of Episodic Art TV on Basic Cable Marked with X

* * *

I, too, believe in evil…

(Don’t say that three times in the mirror!)

…and I’d say Satan’s found a far more mellifluous laughing-ground among the Muslims, who please themselves to bury women up to their heads and stone them to death for “adultery,” murder their own daughters for “mingling,” and practice forms of human sacrifice—selling their sons to Pashtun pedophiles, for one, or celebrating their childrens’ deaths in suicide bombings, for another.

The “Muslims, who please” (nonrestrictive) are implicitly all Muslims or Muslims in general – providing the “mellifluous laughing-ground”[?].  The “Muslims who please…” (restrictive) would be a group of Muslims as defined.  They could turn out to be be all, almost all, the many, a plurality, a minority, or a luridly sensationalized few, if any, who happen to bury, stone, murder, and sacrifice.

The latter usage equates with criticism of very repugnant practices among Muslims – what many Islamophobes, particularly the ones who think of themselves as anything other than bigots, as defenders of liberal democracy and its precepts, claim they’ve always been after, even though, in one way or another, they always sooner or later end up with the comma or its many equivalents.  It seems to be too tempting, too wondrous, if only for a moment, for some to imagine themselves and everyone like them wholly and essentially superior to not-themselves.  The “rational Islamophobes” – whose infirmities lead them to insist on a rational basis for treating Islam as such as an enemy ideology – would probably also include the comma.

Those who favor a different approach to Islamism and to the manifold cultural, historical, and political phenomenon of Islam would recognize the comma as embarrassing and injurious.  Those who believe that Satan is off to a head start wherever people indulge in collective defamation, wherever they mistake self-interested selective perception for objective and balanced judgment, would confess and strive to expiate such immellifluity at the first chance.

Let she who is without sin emplace the first comma.

* * *

To a multiculturalist, among the very worst of sins is to judge another culture and to conclude that it is crummy. And now, our very own multicultural First Citizen of the World has said exactly that about the Arabs. Could that be the reason the MSM is ignoring this story?

Could be.  Could be almost as mega-sinful as an entire civilization devoted for 14 centuries to selling boys into sexual slavery and suicide bombing (if only occasionally both at once) would be.
Or could be the MSM think it’s a crummy story.  Could also be that presuming to speak from a position of broad culturally relative non-crumminess is the sign of a crummy attitude.  Could also be that our very own multicultural First Citizen didn’t say anything like that at all, that he and his slightly overly self-ingratiating NASA chief were trying to say the exact opposite thing, and that it wouldn’t be such a bad thing to get citizens of the crummy world to consider less crummy ways of looking at their crummy selves.

Or it could be that only he who is without a mess all over his chin, chest, and lap should cast the first crumb.

* * *

[T]here is no national suicide remotely at issue, and opposing the Arizona law doesn’t mean you want America to drop dead.

It is this sort of hysteria and overheated blather that conservatives should be wary of. Political winds are blowing at the right’s back, but the quickest way to be knocked off course is to propound ill-conceived arguments and give voters the idea that conservatives are unsober and unserious.

Aw, c’mon!  Where would anyone ever get that idea?


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116 comments on “Flamesem & Japesem (while Laughing at the Ground)

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  1. Well I wouldn’t go as far to say it is exclusively Muslim, but among the Salafi/Hambali, these are vile practices, more fitting the Iblis and his djinn, but receive relatively little condemnation from the usual authorities

  2. There is a larger question,that you chose to sidestep, what is it about today, that disdains beauty, that holds such a dark mirror to our own
    culture, that disdains technology, even it is an indispensable part of our society, And conversely considers critique of the Other sacrosanct

  3. “There is a larger question,that you chose to sidestep

    The Question,”what is it about today, (1)that disdains beauty, (2)that holds such a dark mirror to our own
    culture, (3)that disdains technology, even it is an indispensable part of our society, And conversely considers critique of the Other sacrosanct

    The answer to the question is that as a Society,we buy a lot of Culture
    that has the qualities that you describe. What we buy is packaged by Business people who have excellent instincts about how to package and sell this BRAND of Culture. Examples are TRUE BLOOD,TWILIGHT,DEXTER,featuring the side splitting humour of the serial killer/torturer,the wisdom of Vampires,and the irresistible sexiness of Werewolves,We love Capitalism in America,”If it sells,it’s just got to be good.” Capitalism spreads the Dark side of our Culture,because it is there,and people want to see themselves,Through a mirror,Darkly. I personally find Commentary/Contentions among the Darkest writing avaiable anywhere.

  4. @ narciso:
    I think you’re just projecting into the mirror, one of a zillion zillion points of reflection.

    Ask an overly broad question, get an overly broad answer.

  5. Narciso, Their specialty is Suicide Bombers,ours is serial killers and mass murderers whose victims are,well just about anybody. The Difference,of course, is that Suicide Bombers are a targeted result of a specific and socially acceptable “Need” of their Social Order. The Serial Killer/Mass Murderers are not wanted nor specifically bred by our society. But what we have in common is RESULTS,we produce killers of ourselves in a highly predicitable and consistent manner,as they produce the Suicide Bomber. I would even venture to say that on a per capita basis,we out produce them. In my opinion,Production/Results Trumps Intention.

  6. Well we take one at a time, The Twilight series is written by a Mormon
    housewife in Phoenix, not some PR consultant in LA. She does seem to find the native American culture (the werewolves) more highly than
    the Wasp (the Cullens and Vampires in general) I saw the first segment of True Blood, and it was truly disturbing, Dexter’s creator Lindsay is a very twisted individual, most of these are not on regular
    TV, but there is a propensity toward the aberrant, one assumes part
    of Schumpeter’s creative destruction, but I think it’s more than that

  7. The problem is General Bolden’s stated mission is just to jarring to too many, there’s a reason it was announced on Al Jazeera, it’s yet another ‘no we can’t’ moment,

  8. but I think it’s more than that

    Evil sells,I can give you volumes of examples. That’s why the idea of Capitalism as a “Moral” force is such a joke,but The Masters of the Universe know how to sell. I’ve made an above average living since 1971, SELLING,which is the Frontline of Capitalism. But,the Market is not where I venture when I seek Moral Education.

  9. Well what is the line to paraphrase Churchill ‘Capitalism is the worst system in the world, except for all the others” but that doesn’t really explain it properly. One would think the influence of the FRankfurt
    School and Gramscian infiltration probably has more to it. The lack of any meaningful ‘moral and civic’ education, is certainly a symptom

  10. Rex Caruthers wrote:

    featuring the side splitting humour of the serial killer/torturer,

    That’s not what Dexter is about really at all. It’s a somewhat more than usually self-conscious exploration of the return of the repressed, and it fits in well thematically with the self-superiority and selective perception typified in the Abrams and Den Beste excerpts, as well as in Bozell’s article – and for that matter with narciso’s complaint – and you ought to recognize it, too, as part of the “exceptionalism” that you’re always seeking to undermine.

    There’s a constant attempt – it’s almost definitional for the “right” – to guard the border between us and them, which means viewing both sides as self-creating, self-contained, and self-responsible. The “transgressive” artist seeks shock effects by crossing the border, equating and joining things that “don’t belong together”: The sociopathic murderer as hero. The monster as object of love and compassion. Bodily waste integrated with spiritual transcendance.

    The very familiarity of the gesture can itself be transgressive: I think that’s what pisses off Bozell – that the spirit of Piss Christ has invaded Basic Cable, and has turned back into kitsch! Kitsch is supposed to think it’s beautiful: A Kinkade print or a votive candle. A fan or at least a non-judgmental interpreter of Serrano would argue that Piss Christ was a more reverential gesture than anything any televangelist ever managed.

    What’s ironic about Bozell is that he’s a leading defender and proponent of the socio-economic system that endlessly produces and re-produces Piss Christs and True Bloods, and Brent Bozells to complain pointlessly and comically about them. The message of all of that mass culture that will probably never reach him, and that he’s incapable of accepting, is that its truths derive from the conventional lies that he would prefer (desperately needs to) remain undisturbed.

    narciso’s reference to the Frankfurt School strikes me as a very out-of-place. The main aesthetic theorist of the Frankfurt School was Adorno, and there was no more pitiless critic of the ills of capitalist/late capitalist culture than Adorno. “Every trip to the cinema makes me worse.” “The office of art is to resist by form alone the course of a world that always puts a gun to its head.” No one struggled harder to define a non-dehumanizing course of cultural development against the onslaught of commodification. For Adorno, I believe, the mass culture itself, the possibility of that mass culture, is comprehensively de-humanizing because it’s superstructure and foundations are built on comprehensive de-humanization (just like every other culture, but, after Auschwitz and Hiroshima, without the excuse of innocence), with whatever claim it has to being exceptional, or exceptionally better, remaining embattled on every front and constantly subject to reversal.

  11. No, that is not it at all, it’s is the idea that Serrano’s blasphemy, and I don’t think it needs quotation marks qualifies as art. The trangressive
    gets the NEA and other grants, and the Times celebrates it, whereas
    when it comes to other critical elements, like say the Mohammed cartoons, they refer to Serrano and the elephant dung guy.

    I saw Dexter during the writer’s strike, and yes it represents the rise of that reptilian part of the mind, and doesn’t really put our local metropolis in a very good light, but like noir it does represent a certain cold amoral judgement

  12. A fan or at least a non-judgmental interpreter of Serrano would argue that Piss Christ was a more reverential gesture than anything any televangelist ever managed.

    No, that is not it at all, it’s is the idea that Serrano’s blasphemy

    And the argument would be that if a God chose to become human and enter the dank,corrupted fallen world,it would be the equalivant to that God of diving into a vat of piss.

  13. Serrano’s blasphemy

    “His followers will wear white.” In Jesus’ day, urine was often used in the process of whitening fabrics. What makes it “blasphemy” is your learned associations with urine. Serrano feels himself under no obligation to accept them. He further, and I think with some justifications, finds the resultant imagery appealing, and the idea of divinity-all-too-human neatly parallels the symbology of art/waste. God and man are also two things that don’t belong together. The naive – I don’t think I need to put the word in quotes – reaction to it is predictable and further ironic since the very status of Christ as realizing a god for the masses and for the rejected, for the human beings discarded prior to Christ like so much societal waste, is what Serrano is marking: What could be more universal and human, and also more “last” and “least” than urine?

  14. Rex Caruthers wrote:

    And the argument would be that if a God chose to become human and enter the dank,corrupted fallen world,it would be the equalivant to that God of diving into a vat of piss.

    Exactly (except for the charming dyslexia).

  15. That’s not what Dexter is about really at all

    It is one aspect of how the Media uses Serial Killers,whether it’s Dexter,Hannibal Lecter,Dahmer etc etc,real or fictional,they are very funny guys in lots of movie books etc. They’ve lost a lot of their power to creep us out because of overuse,so the Creators of these works like Edward Lee,and Rob Zombie,turn the tables on us by manipulating us into laughing at their jokes,thus forcing us to identify with them.

  16. That’s just too much post modern semiotic mumbo jumbo, that reads well on paper, but doesn’t ring true. It is necessary tobring down the good, the decent, the patriotic, in order to ‘fundamentally transform’
    the society.

  17. ” It is necessary tobring down the good, the decent, the patriotic, in order to ‘fundamentally transform’
    the society.”

    It is also necessary to do the above to meet our sales quota for this quarter.
    Capitalism and Communism are joined at the hip,Janus stle,without one,you don’t have the other. The “Rough New Beast” of Yeat’s Poem fortells of the next stage of society,Neither C/C,(Fundemental Transformation)

  18. narciso wrote:

    That’s just too much post modern semiotic mumbo jumbo, that reads well on paper, but doesn’t ring true. It is necessary tobring down the good, the decent, the patriotic, in order to ‘fundamentally transform’
    the society.

    Thank you, Glenn Beck – except that fundamental transformation, in addition to being morally necessary, shifted into the realm of the political when religion was formally de-politicized, is the essence of America, is “the good,” “the decent,” and “the patriotic” in America.

  19. You idiots, the reason you have to demonize Islam, is that is the only justification you have left for 5000 dead american soljahs and a trillion dollahs of taxpayer money. The Bush doctrine could never have worked. The clergy ARE the lawyers and the government in MENA–what you are going to? Build secular law schools from the ground up?
    Retards. COIN is failing because it is based on the moronic Bush Doctrine. When muslims can vote, they just vote for MORE Islam.
    So Iraq is an islamic state with shariah law in the constitution, religious political parties, that declared a national holiday holiday when the americans left Iraqi cities. And the religious clerics still control the government– Imam Fadlallah was one of Malikis chief advisors. Eventually the american people are going to realize that 5000 young american soldiers died for NOTHING.
    So you rave about fgm and stoning and suicide bombers……but it won’t change the facts on the ground.
    The Bush Doctrine creates islamic states at a horrific cost to Americans…..and COIN makes more terrorists than it kills.

  20. @CK

    There’s a constant attempt – it’s almost definitional for the “right” – to guard the border between us and them,

    It’s not almostdefinitional, it isdefinitional.

    The border may be spacial, genetic or ideological.

    This is a necessary function, and in evolutionary terms, reasonalbly easy to define. Heightend senstivity to threat by some of the ingroup is an evolutionary adaptation that allowed stone age people to survive constant danger.

    However, taken too far, the ingroup shrinks too small to survive.

    Which is the role of the Ur left, to expand the ingroup, to make alliances with other ingroups to provide the critical mass needed for defense – as long as it doesn’t go too far and dilute the ingroup’s control over itself.

  21. Yes it doesn’t change the facts that Sufis are an endangered species
    in any Moslem state, ‘from Afghanistan to Zanzibar’ to quote one wag on the subject, and you defend their practices and even compare
    believing Christians to it, and no the Wolves are more noble, maybe
    the Volturi are a closer match

  22. btw, the Da’wa was founded by Muqtada’s grandfather, not Hezbollah, although it took Musa Sadr’s death, similarly to turn that splinter of Amal into an Iranian puppet, thanks to Sistani that has not happened

  23. @ strangelet:
    I’m glad I saw that… but it’s a little harder to laugh on a morning when the news is filled with news of a mass casualty bombing in Uganda.

  24. @ bob:
    The reason I say “almost” is that progress, most broadly defined, as embraced in the American Founding, and as dramatized and extended in all of the great religions, points to a dissolution of in/out groups, or to a re-definition of and decreasing import of boundaries. We keep on rushing forward to an end of history. The Founding generation in a way thought that they had glimpsed the end of history – not that time was coming to an end, but that they were implementing the framework for a universal community whose precepts would re-make the world.

    Without getting sidetracked into that discussion, the Right is in this sense divided against itself in the American context – its pre-Revolutionary, Revolutionary, and post-Revolutionary elements jumbled together and contradictory. It can’t be authentic to itself, in America, without undermining itself. In a different way that’s true of the Left, too. It continually comes back from its adventures across whatever border with conceptual treasure that, put to the test, turns out to be regressive where it’s not redundant.

  25. @ CK MacLeod:

    What could be more universal and human, and also more “last” and “least” than urine?

    Well, what about the gelatinous material of which the human brain is composed? Bovine, equine, and canine urine, the urine of rodents and reptiles, of birds and bats—none of those differ in any important ways from human urine, so how exactly is urine in any context apart, perhaps, from deliberate insult, so special to humans or so “universally human”? Serrano the artist looks at the man Christ, who, as the authentic Catholic you seem to suggest he is, might be expected to know that “He was true God and true man,” and what does he see? Christ’s kidneys. Wonderful. That reminds me of an adage: When a pickpocket meets a saint, all the pickpocket sees is the saint’s pockets.

    Certainly man is fallen in Judeo-Christianity. The world, however, is just as certainly not: “[God] saw that it was good.” The verse in Genesis in which the Elohist warns that “he who sheds man’s blood by the sword, by the sword shall his blood be shed” is immediately preceded by the verse “Let us make man in our image.” So then, by the theology seemingly imputed to Serrano, the divine stamp impressed on man, whatever that means, discourages murder but not a thorough dousing in piss.

    The Biblical notion that man was formed from the dust seems to me to cover all the bases without luridly dwelling on the viscera, which are not representative of man. It’s comical even to suggest that they are. The brain, the heart, the kidneys—Each was formed from dust. Serrano’s theology is tendentiously juvenile, to the extent that a theological statement was his intention at all, which is open to question.

    Judging by the entirety of his oeuvre, in which he elsewhere uses blood, semen, and feces, Serrano seems to be expanding on the notion that any material can be used in the service of art, an idea originating with Duchamp as early as “The Large Glass,” I believe, which is not particularly original or interesting but moderately disgusting. Of course that is my response to it as a work of art, which is what “Piss Christ” is or at least purports to be. Others may and do have different responses, to which they are welcome. For myself, I am unmoved by piss and shit in whatever guise they are offered for my appreciation. Further, I ask the question, which I will stipulate in advance is a Western, Christian, pre-duchampian situated query: What could it mean that Michelangelo, Leonardo, a reprobate like Caravaggio, Corot, the first modern naturalist, as well as Courbet, Monet, Manet, Pissaro, Degas, Renoir, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso, Rodin, Giacometti, and Matisse—those are just some highlights, mind you—why did not one of them ever think to work in piss when it came to depicting Jesus Christ? How could they have overlooked the plain artistic opportunities of “come”? Why oh why, even once, just once, in 10-thousand or so works of art, did they never even try to exploit the manifold possibilities of shit? Is there a warmer earth tone than that of shit, I ask you? Perhaps, sunk in convention, it simply never occurred to them, or perhaps poverty of imagination can be discerned, their other achievements notwithstanding. It’s a puzzler.

  26. Now it’s true that both Dred Scott, authored by that ultimate Jacksonian, Roger Taney, and whoever wrote Plessy, Brown I think, betrayed the promise of the founding, and Wilson the ultimate Bourbon
    doubled down, on the outrage

  27. strangelet wrote:

    You idiots,

    I wish you’d stop making assumptions about what everyone here thinks and believes, or speaking as though you see us as a collective mass. At this point the “conventional conservatives” here (if there are any) probably feel a bit like an embattled minority. Even the people here who hold to negative/enemy images of Islam as such are open-minded enough still to be here and participating, and I don’t think anyone is operating in bad faith.

    the reason you have to demonize Islam, is that is the only justification you have left for 5000 dead american soljahs and a trillion dollahs of taxpayer money. The Bush doctrine could never have worked. The clergy ARE the lawyers and the government in MENA–what you are going to? Build secular law schools from the ground up?
    Retards.

    The dimensions of the conflict that led to the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq are much, much broader than you seem willing to recognize. 5000 dead and $1 Trillion would be history on the incredibly cheap, if that was all it cost. The stakes, and the sunk costs, are much higher than that.

    COIN is failing because it is based on the moronic Bush Doctrine. When muslims can vote, they just vote for MORE Islam.

    Why is that inherently a problem? Let them vote for more Islam. So what?

    So Iraq is an islamic state with shariah law in the constitution, religious political parties, that declared a national holiday holiday when the americans left Iraqi cities. And the religious clerics still control the government– Imam Fadlallah was one of Malikis chief advisors. Eventually the american people are going to realize that 5000 young american soldiers died for NOTHING.

    NOTHING would be a huge improvement over the status quo ante. Let’s hear it for NOTHING! Sadly, it’s not attainable in the short term. Too much interdependence and interpenetration. World too small. Almost everybody’s got stuff that lots of other people want – and the ones who don’t are pissed off about it.

    The Bush Doctrine creates islamic states at a horrific cost to Americans…..and COIN makes more terrorists than it kills.

    Eh… From the perspective of a utopian pacifist or a decadent Westerner, these wars are huge deals. From the perspective of human history, they’re iddy-biddy things. France killed est. 1 million Algerians, out of a population of around 10 million, extricating itself from its bad relationship with the Islamic world. The Soviet Union killed est. 1.5 million civilians and mujahadeen, and took 50,000 killed and wounded of its own, destroying Afghanistan in order to try but fail to save it for Communism.

    Creating Islamic states with a higher admixture of Americanism/globalism and a greater sophistication about the pluses and minuses of the West may be exactly what history calls us to do after generations farming out the process to Saudia Arabia, Khomeinist Iran, and others. The secular modernizers went too far and too fast and created strains and disjunctions that their societies couldn’t efficiently absorb under the pressures of a rapidly industrializing and globalizing world, with its own problems and needs.

    It’s not that they are Islamic that ought to concern us, it’s how they are Islamic that should concern them, primarily, and the rest of us secondarily.

  28. Taheri’s description of AJAx and the aftermath, the way Zahir Shah transitioned to Amin and Taraki, fits in that view, CK, Although it’s
    hard to see where Arabia fits into that category. King Abdullah is
    clearly a moderate, in the big scheme of things

  29. Joe/ For myself, I am unmoved by piss and shit in whatever guise they are offered for my appreciation.

    You remind me of the character Strephon in Swift’s Poem,”The Lady’s Dressing Room”, who is amazed at the fact of Female Defecation,
    “Thus finishing his grand Survey, [115]
    Disgusted Strephon stole away
    Repeating in his amorous Fits,
    Oh! Celia, Celia, Celia shits”
    http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Texts/dressing.html

    http://quarterlyconversation.com/on-jonathan-swifts-poetry

  30. @ strangelet:

    Eventually the american people are going to realize that 5000 young american soldiers died for NOTHING.

    That is an appalling assertion, judging someone’s death as worthless. I can only assume that that is pique and cannot for the life of me see how anyone, but especially a sincere Sufi, would come within a mile of so heartlessly final a pronouncement on the value of a human life. Those soldiers did not die while committing a felony, though even there I would hesitate to judge, but while participating in a duly authorized conflict, supported and superintended by a duly elected Congress and Executive, all that apart from a consideration of the particular circumstances of their deaths, which I would think is the minimum they are owed.

  31. That is an appalling assertion
    but while participating in a duly authorized conflict

    We need to ask their parents,their wives,their children,their friends, whether they died for nothing,that’s where the truth is. I had exactly 26 friends,associates,and classmates who died in Vietnam. Ask me the question,they died for nothing. They died because of Government incompetence and irresponsability and failure to Manage one of its most important functions, WAGING WAR.

  32. @ CK

    And I say almostbecause the dynamic you describe, pretty much describes history. I mean the idea that, finally,Our People, in all of human history, has stumbled upon, been revealed to, invented, a “universal community whose precepts would re-make the world” has been pretty much universal.

    What I mean to suggest is that the dynamic of conservative and liberal is a biological adaptation encoded in our genes, and played out in our brain chemistry, and then our thoughts and actions.

    Figuring out where the boundary between adaptive and destructive social behavior will always be a dynamic process because it is part of how homo sapiens behave.

    That some people tend in one direction or the other is part of what has made human society successful.

    The jumble and contradictions you describe is who and what we are, both as individuals and as societies.@ CK MacLeod:

  33. Joe NS wrote:

    Perhaps, sunk in convention, it simply never occurred to them, or perhaps poverty of imagination can be discerned, their other achievements notwithstanding. It’s a puzzler.

    “Sunk in convention” would be one judgmental way of putting it. They were operating in an artistic arena defined by different conventions. There’s merely some superficial overlap between Serrano’s work and theirs, since Serrano’s aesthetic-alimentary process excretes objects that can be admired, or not. His materials are as much the conventions and the audience themselves as whatever the main end-excrescence happens to have been constructed from. You and me and Rudy Giuliani were and are his principal materials. Your approach is a bit like defining a meal by what your body ends up having done with it rather than by what it offers to your senses when you consume it.

    And you really have to get away from over-interpreting what someone “seems” to you to have said. I have no idea whether Serrano considers himself a Catholic or strives to be a good one. My guess would be neither, but I don’t much care. “Piss Christ” captured a cultural moment, in the way that concept art does, and will likely fade with that cultural moment. It’s not in my view a “major work of art,” and Serrano doesn’t, in my view, qualify as an important artist in any grand historical sense.

  34. @ bob:
    I agree that “conservative” and “liberal” are in a sense biological. In a sense they conform to the physical laws of our universe. But they exist within us as directionalities, and only in a strictly limited way as particular contents. It’s only in the “state of nature” that a merely organic and autonomic “conservatism/liberalism” would be primary. That’s what defines the “state of nature.” It doesn’t prevent us from preferring one or another arrangement of political and social affairs, within a framework of moral progress.

  35. and insults a religion in the bargain

    I admire JC without Reservation,see Stephen Mitchell’s “The Gospel According to Jesus”,but I have mixed attitudes towards that all too human creation,institutionalized Religion, much to admire,much to despise.
    “Mitchell himself admits the impossibility of ever determining the authentic teachings of Jesus with any certainty. The purpose of his book is to restore the name of Jesus for the many who have rejected his teachings because of the hatred and intolerance expressed in his name, even in his own day.”
    http://www.thesatirist.com/books/GospelJesus.html

    http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-According-Jesus-Translation-Unbelievers/dp/0060923210

  36. @ narciso:
    What “lie”?

    It doesn’t and can’t insult a religion. It did and can expose a kind of weakness and self-contradiction within the religion, and is disruptive to good manners – but it’s one of the defining mechanisms of our social system to produce and absorb such “insults” as a matter of course. Such disruptions of the social order are necessary to the social order.

    The work says more about the religion within society than it says or can say about the religion itself. or about those who practice it, though it does confirm the power of the religious symbols it manipulates. What it deprecates and disrespects is the social-political power of the religious system of fetishes: It exposes the lack of temporal power of the church; it reminds the would-be universal church that its preferences are not (are far from) universalized, and further reveals their bases to be contingent (a distaste for the handling of urine – in other societies it may be drunk for supposed health effects).

    We mostly dislike “Piss Christ,” or pretend to, because it reminds us about the Faustian bargain that secular democracy, Whig political science, compelled the frustrated universalisms of all sects to accept: Each of us accepts indefinite frustration to the extent we believe that our sectarian practice deserves to be universal, represents or can represent universal/universalizable truth.

  37. @ Joe NS:

    The Biblical notion that man was formed from the dust seems to me to cover all the bases without luridly dwelling on the viscera, which are not representative of man.

    No shit? That’s the heart of the matter, I can feel it in the pit of my stomach, what you said really pisses me off, come again??

    We use the visera and their products to describe the human condition all the time.

    “luridly” is pretty much the point of this kind of art. Personally, I’m kinda surprised it still seems to work.

  38. It does nothing of the kind, he did it because he could, because the NEA is willing to fund this kind of tripe, instead of great art. Lets not overintellectualize this,

  39. narciso wrote:

    Lets not overintellectualize this,

    That’s a silly statement. “Intellectualization” is the medium of “concept art,” as much as Rembrandt worked in oils. If it’s not to your taste, fine – but then you’re only pretending to be encountering the work on its own terms.

    And it’s rather unlikely, perhaps inconceivable, that the NEA will ever fund “great art.” The great art of the era of the progressive state is hard to define – maybe ICBMs or the Apollo program – maybe “great art” is something we gave up for good reason. Hard to climb high enough to get an adequate view. We’ll have to leave that to future civilizations, though it may be too much to presume that they’ll talk about art in the same way we still do.

  40. @ Rex Caruthers:

    You remind me of the character Strephon in Swift’s Poem,”The Lady’s Dressing Room”, who is amazed at the fact of Female Defecation

    RCAR I am disgusted that you would say that—Oh, I mean, of course, I am amazed that you would say that, an experience of amazement and one of disgust being so readily confused. They’re practically synonyms. It happens all the time and seems to have happened to you.

  41. “RCAR I am disgusted that you would say that—Oh, I mean, of course, I am amazed that you would say that, an experience of amazement and one of disgust being so readily confused. They’re practically synonyms. It happens all the time and seems to have happened to you”

    Intended as a light satirical comment,unworthy of disgust or amazement. Oh,Intentions and Results,always a greater distance tween them than we realize

  42. @ Joe NS:they died for Bush’s intransigent stupidity then. they died because Bush and his “advisors”
    thought they could create a quasi-secular judeoxian democracy in MENA.
    “That aside, here’s the neocon logic, as best I can explain: When a reporter acknowledges the passing of a revered, if controversial figure in a way that doesn’t sufficiently convey what a completely evil terrorist neocons think that figure was — that’s unacceptable. But when the United States spends nearly a trillion dollars, loses over four thousand of its own troops and over a hundred thousand Iraqis to establish a new government largely dominated by that same “terrorist’s” avowed acolytes — that’s victory.”

  43. all.
    In recent examination of the failure of COIN and the mini-surge exposed by McChrystal’s resignation/firing in Afghanistan…. at Abu Muqawama’s counterinsurgency blog, it became apparent that COIN has the same flawed base premise as the Bush Doctrine….that somehow when empowered to vote, aka “democracy promotion”, the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan will vote for quasi-secular judeoxian-style democracy. In al-Islam the clergy are the lawyers, and vice versa. There is no secular substrate to build on– ISLAMIC law is the only rule of law available. Unless Bush was prepared to go into Iraq and build secular law schools from the ground up, and wait 50 years or so for the model of the rule of secular law to permeate the nation, the whole misadventure was doomed to Epic Fail.
    So the upshot is 5000 young american soldiers have died because Bush and his “advisors” were apparently too stupid to realize that when muslims can vote, they vote for MORE Islam, not less.
    I understand that even the Obama administration might not want to acknowledge this…it is pretty demoralizing for the troops. But this is the identical reason that COIN is failing. Because of the Dragon’s Teeth Axiom of SNT (social network theory) even population-centric COIN actually generates more terrorists than it kills. The reason COIN was successful in Anbar, is that al-Q was not local. But the Taliban ARE local, and so influence propagates among two networks, both the social connection and the consanguinous connection.
    The only way to fix COIN is to start to exploit the existing “brightest” (most powerful) local influence nodes, the mosques and the local islamic jurisprudents/muslim clergy.
    Leverage “the consent of the governed.”
    But to do that we have to give up on the War on Islam.
    The raving about shariah, stonings, fgm, and little girls not going to school is just misdirection at this point.
    It is simply a way of not having to admit that we expensed 5000 troops in blood, and a trillion dollahs in treasure, to create an islamic state in Iraq with shariah in the constitution, religious political parties, and that declared a national holiday when american troops left the cities. And where islamic jurisprudence still calls the shots. Fadlallah was a major advisor to Maliki.
    I think that realization would be heartbreaking for the families of the fallen.
    But it is going to come eventually.
    And meanwhile we have a choice in Afghanistan. Use COIN to bricolage the substrate, the existing embedded system of islamic jurisprudence to create a rule of islamic law, or expense more blood and treasure to achieve the identical result we got in Iraq…..after another 6 or 8 years.

  44. strangelet wrote:

    im sure your argument is great comfort to the families of the fallen.

    Probably more than yours. In my experience, military families generally have a much firmer intuitive grasp of why they don’t require logic of comfort from the likes of me or you. What we say here is unlikely ever to touch them, and getting to the truth of such matters isn’t helped by pretending otherwise.

  45. @ bob:

    You make an interesting and hilarious point. Why not throw in “fuck you,” too?

    Still, I am seriously skeptical that in any of the expressions cited, a reference to actual “shit,” “piss,” or “come,” is really intended, especially the last, where semen is not being connoted even for emphasis. Several of those words function mainly as emphatics and have about as much specific meaning as “fuck” in “What the fuck is going on?” the “fuck” of which strikes me as almost empty of meaning.

    As to the human condition, what does it say about your human condition that in carrying on a conversation with a stranger you would be unlikely to use “piss” or “shit” or “fuck”? Or maybe I’m jumping to a conclusion. I sincerely hope not. Doesn’t such self-censorship indicate a natural recognition of the simple dignity of the person you’re talking to? His human dignity?* In speaking of the human condition might we more appropriately look towards his dignity?

    I recall reading about some study at some medical-school teaching hospital in which the use of bad language by staff around comatose patients was studied (the staff did not know they were being recorded). The frequent use of such words, sometimes directed at the patient—to be fair, usually in jest—was startling. The patient being comatose, concluding that the staff assumed he lacked his distinctively human faculty of comprehending words is unavoidable, I believe.

    *dignity < L., dignus: “meet and just.”

  46. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Well, I found it amusing, if not quite amazing – there was a lot of coprophilia (and a lot of other copro’s) in those days – some of the surviving popular/political art is hilariously extreme. I once took a class on the Grotesque in art and literature from a specialist with a vast collection – he’d frequently run slides through a carousel-loaded projector, and the highlight of the show would be when he clicked upon something particularly striking – politicians drowning in a vast cauldron of clerical excrement stirred by the king (I’ll leave further details to your fecund imaginations) – and he would pause, step back a bit, touch his chin, and say, “Now… that’s grotesque.”

    Happy times for a stoned undergrad.

    The downside of it all is that for the rest of the day as I go about some pressing business, I’ll be reciting the brief tale of Celia to myself whether I want to or not.

  47. @ strangelet:

    Colin has already pointed out to you that voting for an Islamic constitution is not a problem unless you believe that Islam is a problem. You seem to need reminding of that.

    Everything else in your comment—and I do mean absolutely everything—is either a flat assertion, a questionable opinion, or plain crystal-ball reading. For instance, you have no conclusive evidence that COIN has failed. It does seem to me obvious that you would not be displeased if and when it becomes clear that it has failed; but only a prophet or a cast-iron ideologue would claim to know with such vehement certainty what the conditions will be in Iraq or Afghanistan 20 years from now. I don’t think you’re a prophet. To take one example of many that could be cited, look at South Korea in 1954 and South Korea today. Any resemblance is superficial. Who is to say that there won’t be a US presence in Iraq in 50 years. Iraq was a highly secularized society before the US invasion. It just wasn’t democratic.

    You want to debate this or that topic pertinent to Iraq and Afghanistan, fine, although this thread is probably not the one for it. I’ll indulge a bit of modest fortune-telling myself. . . . Ah yes, the mists are parting. There will be counter-arguments for anything you have to say. To top that, you won’t like them much.

    Refrain from confusing the present with a possible future that exists in your head. Like the rest of us, you’re simply going to have to wait and see.

  48. Joe NS wrote:

    Colin has already pointed out to you that voting for an Islamic constitution is not a problem unless you believe that Islam is a problem. You seem to need reminding of that.

    Thanks, Joe.

    Once the false assumptions are in place, the general tendency is to steam right ahead regardless. But I’m still glad to get the text on that “neocon logic” piece. Deserves to be flamed and japed.

  49. Adjusted for population, that were probably the figures of the Phillipine insurgency, which was manifestly less important in the great scheme of things. We are working with Sistani, but I don’t think that’s what you want. You want the majority of Wahhabi/Deobandi mosques to go unchallenged, well it worked so well for Mansour Al Hallaj, didn’t it

  50. @ narciso:
    @ strangelet:
    There are some useful observations in strangelet’s comment, IMO, but some of the uncertain assumptions get in the way. May be worth trying to sort this one out a bit later. I don’t think narc’s summary is justified.

  51. The fair Katherine, doesn’t understand what counterinsurgency entails, which includes some parochial outreach for lack of a better term, as well as the local Sheikhs, plus she just gets on my nerves

  52. @ Joe NS:

    My point is that we think in terms of our bodies a lot of the time, so is it any wonder that artists might take that and deconstruct it in various ways for various effects.

    A Theater Prof I had defined art as “the selected exaggeration of life”. I have not encountered a better one since then. It is wonderfully innocent of the “beauty” and “uplifting” sentiments that sometimes cloud discussions of art.

    As for bad language, personally I cleaned up my mouth when my daughter was born. Now if one of the 7 words escapes my lips, people are aghast. Yes, we have become desentitized to these words, but their referents are still the same, and the use of that language carries an aggresive quality that frequently does diminish us. So maybe it’s worthwhile if ithis kind of art to remind us of that.

  53. @ bob:

    Theater Prof I had defined art as “the selected exaggeration of life”.

    That sounds familiar:

    Wit is nature to best advantage dressed/What oft was thought but ne’er so well expressed.

    Alexander Pope, c. 1730

  54. @ strangelet:
    See, where you’re right is that you can’t fight a “War on Islam” and apply a Petraeus COIN strategy unless you’re preparing for 1,000-year or 2,000-year deployment. Except the only ones fighting a War on Islam are the Islamophobes fighting it in their heads and on the beachheads of lower Manhattan. The most Islamophobic righties – Andy McCarthy, Diane West – oppose Petraeus/Obama precisely because P/O have zero interest in fighting a war on Islam, and are fully prepared to err on the side of failing to be anti-Islamic enough. The far right – ultra-hawks and isolationists, who sometimes amount to the same thing – opposed Bush and the Neocons for the same reasons, among others. They agree with Hirsi Ali, and assess Islam as incompatible with representative democracy. Others, like our visitor John, question whether it’s the representation part, more than the democracy part, that will prove a stumbling block. strangelet’s own comments, though intended to be pro-Islamic, partly imply the same thing.

    I’ve not seen anything convincingly demonstrating that a modernized, formally democratized Islam is out of reach at all – to the contrary. I think that many countries are closing in on it from different directions, as the pendulum swings slowly back from the Islamist reaction to secular modernism into the reaction to the reaction. Islamized democracy/democratized Islam remains the most likely long-term model for most of the Islamic world barring utter global catastrophe. The contribution of the US military enterprises, which can be seen as a response to a summons from the Islamic world, a calling forth to be judged, and whose most important elements may have been exchanges taking place largely out of view, was arguably necessary, both in its negative and its positive aspects.

  55. So why does it seem like the only flavor offered is Radical Islam, from the Algerian GIA to Hamas the Turkish AKP, Lee Smith is right, the only
    authentic Islam, is frequently anti American, and anti Israeli.

  56. @ narciso:
    There’s no accounting for seeming. If it bleeds, it leads. You don’t hear much out of Jordan, say, and, if you do, it’ll be bad news.

    Frankly, you’re not the person I would select to judge incoming message traffic from the Islamic world and assess its relative radicalism. You’ve been hanging around too much with people who believe in guilt by association.

  57. bob wrote:

    A Theater Prof I had defined art as “the selected exaggeration of life”.

    Well, except that that leaves aside non-representational, non-mimetic art: Most music, self-consciously abstract art of all types, numerous schools of modern literary art – and, while we’re on the subject, concept art, too, for the most part.

  58. Well a Deerfield and Sandhurst grad like King Abdullah (the other one) is as they say ‘a good egg’ then again Ignatius and Fesperman have a little too exaggerated a view of Jordanian institutions. I learned at the
    feet of Glenn REynolds, as the Arabs found Iraq illegitimate around 2003, now with Allawi in charge, crickets, remember I am the ultimate
    idealist, but I’m no fool

  59. For those of you who want to know what hell might be like, I recommend the novel, The Road, which I read today in one sitting from Manchester, UK to Chicago. Powerful, relentless, and cathartic all wrapped up in a less than 300 page package.

    A hopeful sign for me was the young twenty four-ish Moslem woman, all but her face covered, and traveling with an older woman, maybe her Mother, came up to me because I was also at the gate early and asked me if she was in the right place for the plane to Chicago. She had a rather thick Arabic accent (I’m pretty sure that’s what it was) and made eye contact and was very polite. There was something about her which gave me hope that indeed there can be a reformation within that now medieval faith. It is the same feeling I had when a nice Pakistani doctor treated my ulcerated gum for free and the young Pakistani pharmacists who also took the time to help me. It is easy to project what we want to see onto others. The 9/11 hijackers were not poor, downtrodden unemployable people, nor were the London bombers of July 7.

  60. That is the frightening thing, you don’t really know, one of 7/7 bombers
    was the equivalent of a youth counselor, with solidly middle class roots, who followed Awlaki’s path to the Muridke mosque in Lahore

  61. @ narciso:
    Well, Allawi stands, as far as I know, as a symbol of how badly mistaken we would be to maintain a monolithic image of the “Islamic world” or the “Arab world.” They are worlds and worlds within worlds. Regardless of Allawi’s personal qualities – he seems like a fine chap to me, but what do I know? – the stream he represented, and that won the most votes, a plurality and therefore the most significant bloc, was anti-sectarian, relatively pro-secular and pro-US. And, btw, why shouldn’t they call for a holiday for the removal of US combat troops? I suspect it serves multiple purposes.

    Throughout the most important countries of the Middle East, there are large blocs – who knows how large they’d be under the right conditions? – that could be described the same way as Allawi’s party, prominently for our purposes in Turkey and Iran, however problematic the policies of their current rulers may be to us and our allies.

  62. Well he was a “moderate Baathist’ a not too distant relative of Chalabi, the man we’re supposed to hate, even though as Hitchens point, most of the others wouldn’t be there otherwise.but one notices how little attention he gets. That Kemal fellow in Turkey is another one, which we put our hopes with.

  63. Colin has already pointed out to you that voting for an Islamic constitution is not a problem unless you believe that Islam is a problem. You seem to need reminding of that.

    then why is COIN trying to nationbuild secular infrastructure (for example, schools) instead of bricolaging existing islamic jurisprudence? My argument is the third culture argument of social network theory. Its BIOLOGY. COIN creates more terrorists than it kills. Because influence propagates along twice as many network connections….both socio-political and consanguinous. So it it is simple mathematics.
    The Bush Doctrine aka “democracy promotion” never once acknowledged the fact that muslims will vote for Islam, not secularism, when they get to vote.
    conservatives are stupid.

  64. Really, you prefer the madrassahs of the North West Frontier, because that’s what is entailed. There’s no Sufi learning at the Haqquania, if you missed that detail. You ultimately like the Taliban, the Chechen
    Islamic Emirate that’s the only explanation

  65. strangelet wrote:

    then why is COIN trying to nationbuild secular infrastructure (for example, schools) instead of bricolaging existing islamic jurisprudence?

    Why does building schools conflict with working with existing Islamic structures? What if tribes, villages, individuals want schools? We just featured a short article by an academic arguing that COIN in Afghanistan needed to work through the tribes more than it has, but particular development projects – schools, wells, whatever – don’t preclude that at all.

    My argument is the third culture argument of social network theory. Its BIOLOGY. COIN creates more terrorists than it kills. Because influence propagates along twice as many network connections….both socio-political and consanguinous. So it it is simple mathematics.

    Even granting your COIN assumptions, your argument presumes that all nodes are equal. It’s in part a targeting issue: There would be no reason to expect that the “newly created” “terrorists” will have the same levels of sophistication, skill, and commitment as the old ones, or that the terrorist/insurgent networks aren’t vulnerable to disruption along other axes as well. The idea isn’t to kill everyone actually or potentially on the other side – can’t be done, even with nuclear weapons. The idea is to strike only those who need to be struck and whom it’s worth striking.

    In Iraq, the results could often be seen fairly soon, for example, in the lessening sophistication and effectiveness of IED attacks in key areas: One dude who knows what he’s doing and whose supply lines are intact is orders of magnitude more dangerous than two dudes who don’t know what they’re doing and need to re-establish connections.

    The Bush Doctrine aka “democracy promotion” never once acknowledged the fact that muslims will vote for Islam, not secularism, when they get to vote.
    conservatives are stupid.

    It was under Bush that soft Islamist or heterogeneous Islamist-modernist constitutions were written and put into operation in both Afghanistan and Iraq. There was a lot that the Bush Administration got wrong, but it never set out to remove or reduce the influence of Islam per se. It was criticized constantly from the Islamophobic right for not doing so, or from moderate Muslims for doing less than it in theory could have, against Islamism. It’s been a frequent and somewhat hypocritical complaint from the left that our policy also leaves the conditions for heightened Iranian influence intact – as though any policy other than a military dictator like Saddam or all-out war on Iran could remove Iranian influence. Meanwhile, many of the same critics, especially the ones on the left, preferred to believe (absurdly) that Obama’s Cairo speech was more important to the Green Movement than any “infection” from Iraq (and beyond) – as though only a one-way influence from a bankrupt revolutionary ideology would occur along newly opened channels between the two countries (among other factors).

    None of this means that COIN – and certainly as in your reductive description – is the be-all and end-all, or that the efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq don’t have other problems, but the shape and outcomes of a culturally evolutionary process will be determined by much more than the relatively small-scale military operations of a season or a decade.

  66. Zoltan Newberry wrote:

    For those of you who want to know what hell might be like, I recommend the novel, The Road,

    You should try the movie – just rented the DVD a week or so ago. I’d be curious to hear how closely it followed the book.

  67. Obama also argued in Cairo, where the Mubarak is now going on thirty years, that’s longer than the Shah, for those with the home game,
    that ‘democracy cannot be imposed from abroad’ He ignored that Gitmo served as a way to disconnect these fellows from the jihadi effort and letting them loose, reverses the process

  68. @ CK MacLeod: lies. Both the Karzai and Maliki governments are wholly informed by islamic jurisprudence.
    american soljahs are still dying in Iraq ….nearly a hundred so far this summer…….so are homosexuals.
    You say, Highlander, that there is marginal improvement?
    Relly? Where?
    And at what cost to America?
    Was it worth it? is the terrorist threat reduced?
    the brutal truth is that 5000 american soljahs died because Bush was too stupid to understand that muslims vote for MORE islam when they can vote.
    do you think GW “god/magog” Bush WANTED shariah law in the constitution?
    hahaha
    retards.

  69. @ strangelet:
    According to icasualties.org, there have been a total of 42 U.S. casualties in Iraq this entire year. I have no idea where you got your number, or what homosexuals have to do with the subject.

    You seem stuck on your theme, fascinated by what you perceive to be an insight, and unable to process arguments that don’t fit within your pre-selected parameters and other presumptions. That approach would qualify as “retarded” enough even without the childish gestures.

  70. Yes a large part of the Wahhabi ilkwan perished in the Sands of Iraq,
    a larger proportion than their first go around, in 1925-1929, when
    Major John Glubb was avoiding the chaos of the precipitous retreat.
    The State Department and the UN, accomodate the shariah law requirement against the advice of the late Hume Horan, who had seen how this worked in practice in Arabia, he also asked that Moqtada be “taken care of’ before he became a baby Fadlallah to the people of
    formerly Saddam City, now Sadr city

  71. @ CK MacLeod:

    It depends on how flexible your definitions of “selected” and “exaggeration” are.

    Thoughts, patterns, concepts are all part of life. If anything, the definition becomes tautological at some point of anyalysis.

  72. It seems so much of what passes for truth, is exaggerated our outright
    lies, David Fenton, who heads up the archipelago of leftist organizations that massage the need for a progressive agenda 24/7 was the one behind the ALAR fraud, which he used to set up the NRDC which promotes other frauds like AGW, and the practical implementation of this, one of the members of this supposed ‘neutral’ commission on the oil spill is a surprise, surprise, a head of the NRDC, which is now forcing all the drillers to consider an exodus out of the gulf like Agamemnon’s flotilla to Troy. Is it mere incompetence or just malice carried out incompetently

  73. Here’s the way to discontinue all the angel counting on the Islamphobia issue. But it will take some intestinal fortitude. If we are attacked again,a major attack, (we get to define major),we will assign responsability for the attack to Islam itself. And the top ten centers of Islam will perish. This is based on the MAD model,but it gives those in charge of Islam a chance to protect their interests. And if Islam is truly a religion of peace and rationality,they will purge themselves of their uncivilized aspects.

  74. That it is the Buckman strategy out of Kratman’s dystopic Caliphate,
    or Belmont’s third conjectures, you think it would work out that way,
    or would there be more recrimination over Israel as you are all too willing to entertain. I don’t want to consider that outcome, that’s exactly why we need to do certain things now, to head that off

  75. why we need to do certain things now, to head that off

    No, Wrong,we don’t have to do anything except convince the leaders of Islam that we want to simplify our lives. I am not interested in Islam,and I am indifferent to it except in terms of an attack on our Real Estate. BTW,if we’re in Islamaland,and we’re attacked there,that’s on us,that’s our choice,we’re adults,and can deal with those consequences. I’m talking about a major Domestic attack on our soil,and to me Israel plays no role in this matter. This is the best way we can contain them,and if they attack us anyway,at least we tried to give them some incentives not to.
    BTW,We have no plan in place if NYC gets hit by a Dirty Bomb.

  76. @ Scientific Socialist:
    The movie did that part quite well. The movies in general do that kind of thing quite well. I think the film gives viewers an “out,” though, because there’s never any explanation of what would destroy all life except some human beings. So as “real” and horrific as everything looks and as we’re told everything is, we also always are reminded it’s a fable, a dark fantasy, not a demonstrably possible future – unless the father character’s explanations are undependable. For all we really know, things are pretty tolerable in Madagascar.

  77. That’s insane, fantastical, repugnant, and wouldn’t work

    Then,what would be sane,pragmatic,attractive,workable,
    our current policy if we experience majorattack 2,which is?????

  78. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Dirty Bombs have been wildly exaggerated by the same kind of thinking that scares people to death about nuclear waste or has large numbers of otherwise reasonable people concerned about an EMP attack.

    The biggest problem in staging a DB attack for the perpetrators would be proving to people that it had actually been executed. Once that was done, we’d have two choices: Indulge in pointless panic reactions or go on about our business as usual, accepting a possible incremental long-term increase in deaths per 100,000 due to cancers in the affected area.

    Padilla supposedly wanted to do a DB attack, apparently because he watched the same TV shows as many of the rest of us. His handlers persuaded him to look into more effective tactics.

  79. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Define “major attack,” with special attention to how it actually – concretely – was executed and for what purposes. That’s the beginning point for a rational response, which should take into account but seek to channel positively a popular emotional reaction.

    There’s no amorphous mass out there called Islam that spontaneously produces “major attacks” like rain clouds produce lightning. The response you suggest does resemble a war on clouds.

    In the meantime, spiting our face wouldn’t be a good alternative in any event. And there are no responsible “leaders of Islam.” There are Muslims all over the place, many in Muslim majority countries, others not. India has the second or third largest Muslim population of any country in the world, for instance.

  80. CK,

    WE DON”T HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE TO RESPOND TO MAJORATTACK2 FROM OUR FRIENDS IN ISLAMALAND.
    If we do,will you refresh my memory. Our current plan to PREVENT major attack 2 is to place 200,000 American Troops in Iraq/Afghanistan and see what happens? That’s a plan which to my understanding is one that you think is potentially effective,workable,a Preemptive approach. But what are the exact consequences of a 9/11-2?
    And explain to me if destroying our property/people is their plan,why is it Insane for us to have a plan to destroy their property,their people? In RESPONSE TO THEIR PLAN?
    I understand that the fact of Israel,and the fact that we are present on their Real Estate killing,and destroying their people,their property,(I know to protect us BLAH BLAH BLAH)complicates the matter,so I propose,we move all our forces out of Islamaland,set up a MAD policy,and see if we can get them to contain the insanity of some of their True Believers.

  81. “There’s no amorphous mass out there called Islam that spontaneously produces “major attacks” like rain clouds produce lightning. The response you suggest does resemble a war on clouds.
    In the meantime, spiting our face wouldn’t be a good alternative in any event. And there are no responsible “leaders of Islam.” There are Muslims all over the place, many in Muslim majority countries, others not. India has the second or third largest Muslim population of any country in the world, for instance.”

    A MAD policy,only if they knew exactly what the Consequences of 9/11-2 would be,would create incentives for them to change their social order. Their decentralization creates a system of deniability that covers their ass.
    If the situation was reversed,and the Christians were the aggressors,and they were told that an attack on whatever would be responded to by the destruction of the Vatican,the Christian/Christian nations would have to get together to make some policy and administrative decisions. And if there was a splinter group that they couldn’t control,let’s call it El-Christa,the Christians could work with the Islams to contain El-Christa.
    The key to anything changing is the certainity of a specific result to a terrorist attack.

  82. Well the next step would either be a mass casualty biological or chemical attack, or nuclear, Rex is already blaming Israel and nothing
    has happened yet. Some days I think Ferrigno wasn’t so jaundiced about our current outcomes. That bit in last nights Rec Brow about the Pakistanis complaining about Afghan style Pashtunwali was rich
    in irony and mineral, I assumed Lagushka linked it (Russian for Frog)

  83. @ Rex Caruthers:
    If destroying our people/property is their plan, then they have a very, very, very, very long way to go. That’s not their plan, IMO, to the extent “they” have a plan, but, if it is, it’s a very poor plan.

    Also, in the countries we retaliate against, or merely seek to liberate, what we define as a “major attack” qualifies as negligible collateral damage. I’m sorry to have to point this out, but we’re all grown-ups here, and we should be able to face the truth, especially when you’re suggesting that attacks on us by non-state actors whom we’ve played a major role in creating might somehow justify culturally, possibly materially genocidal counterstrikes.

    The basis of our strategy for dealing with “major terrorist attacks” is “layered defense,” a series of measures no one of which needs to be perfect for the total approach – much of which is publicly invisible – to be effective enough overall to prevent a major threat via spectacular terror to the actual functioning of a 350,000,000-person nation – or even to the general emotional sense that “everything’s under control,” which seems to be more the point than actual defense against material threats.

    The expeditions to Iraq and Afghanistan have been among the most visible elements of the total strategy. Among other things, they were intended to make it clear to any potential state sponsor of spectacular terror/terror against the US homeland that we could and would take them down PDQ, pre-emptively if necessary. Though the Dems/Left have done their best to strip that message of its content, wiser observers overseas are fully aware that we’re an adolescent, emotional people, and that, the day after MA2, we’d be back to 90% behind our war leader, interested in payback, and much less interested because much less confident in making positive outcomes for the people affected – more punishment, less nation-building. Deterrence, in short, is pretty much in place. Not perfect. Doesn’t have to be.

  84. Rex is already blaming Israel

    Israel is irrelevant regarding whether we want to allow Islamaland a coherent understanding about the inevitable consequences to 9/11-2. And I understand that we don’t want to allow them that coherent understanding,in fact,we aren’t coherent as we talk to each other about threats of terrorism.
    Maybe if we attack Iran,that will convince Islamics not to attack us,maybe that will work.

  85. ” Though the Dems/Left have done their best to strip that message of its content,” Ask yourself why did they do this, and have they learned
    a lesson from any of this, they swallowed the Levick Group’s pr campaign whole, they chose whenever possible, a psycho (Dean)
    a defeatist fop (Kerry, made his career in this type of demoralization)
    and Obama, I’m not sure what kind of characterization I want to tag him with, according to the Chicago reader excerpt in Ryan Lizza’s
    July 2008 New Yorker, he didn’t want to engage in either Afghanistan
    or Iraq, he just wanted understanding

  86. @ Rex Caruthers:
    Proof’s in the pudding, or lack thereof. The amateurishness of the Christmas Day and Times Square attacks, for instance, tends to confirm the lack of a serious state sponsor, and of an intact and well-functioning terrorist network with spectacular attacks as a prime objective. The latter could change, or our calculations and efforts could prove inadequate – I don’t pretend to have a comprehensive grasp on the world of terror. Still, without state sponsorship and a relatively freely operating transnational network, it’s very difficult to do a new 9/11, and limited ROI anyway. In the meantime, S.A., for instance, is more on our side than against us, out of sheer self-interested calculation, when it comes to terror attacks overly rocking the boat. The credibility of deterrence may at some point require reinforcement, but there are no other candidates for sponsorship whom I know of who would gain more than they risk through another attack.

  87. narciso wrote:

    Ask yourself why did they do this, and have they learned
    a lesson from any of this,

    They served their usual purpose. Much of the right remains totally nuts about Islam and terror. The system worked, more or less, the transnationalist left somewhat moderating our overreaction.

  88. S.A. is more on our side than against us, out of sheer self-interested calculation, when it comes to terror attacks overly rocking the boat.

    SA is the main point of my point,they should become MORE motivated to stop an attack on us then they are at the moment. And if such an attack is in the works,they’ll know it,for sure,so the ball would be in their court,the way it should be.

  89. I’m not reassured, the BOHICA plot out of the Phillipines was the same way, the ’93 plot showed similar ineptness, everyone is a total nebbish
    till they succeed in blowing something up, the left is the tacit ally of
    the Salafi, they hold no understanding of the consequences of strategic failure and they don’t care to

  90. The problem is Wahhabism, it’s in the mother’s milk they feed the lads and lasses, which encourages them to become good shaheeds, it’s
    also apparently in the stateside curriculum at places like the ISA, which
    the Honorable Gerry Connelly voted on expanding before he came to Congress. Now what is the antidote to that sort of conditioning

  91. The system worked, more or less
    I try to remain realistic.

    The costs to maintain the SYSTEM,are not realistic.

  92. narciso wrote:

    Now what is the antidote to that sort of conditioning

    What is the evidence that “that sort of conditioning” has a predictable lasting effect? Some of our best friends were Hitler Youth, 70 years or systematic and pervasive Marxist-Leninist indoctrination didn’t turn Russia into a nation of communists, and Catholic Schools turn out sexually concupiscent Goths and quantum mechanical Sufis.
    Rex Caruthers wrote:

    The costs to maintain the SYSTEM,are not realistic.

    Well, now you’re back on different ground. Doesn’t have much in common with a “let’s threaten to wipe out Islam” strategy.

  93. There were a lot of intervening factors, the defeat of the German army, the intervention of the US, is there any alternative system
    in Arabia,

  94. Well, now you’re back on different ground. Doesn’t have much in common with a “let’s threaten to wipe out Islam” strategy

    Yeah it does,it’s very cheap,stop all the wars of ambiguity,and have a simple policy,attack us and Holy Sites 1-10 are wiped out,it won’t wipe out Islam or even kill a lot of Islamics,and nobody knows,even me,but it might be an effective deterrent,lets let Stranglet opine:

  95. @ Rex Caruthers:
    It’s absurd, but, playing along, merely announcing the policy would already be costlier to us by far than the combined investment in Iraq and Afghanistan. Really. It’s the daydream of Emperor Rex II of the United Imperial States of 2045.

  96. narciso wrote:

    is there any alternative system
    in Arabia,

    Sure, but what difference does it make to us? If they put an asterisk next to the Wahhabis’ extra pillar (jihad), and continue developing other ideological complements to the practical policy of suppressing extremists, that’s probably good enough.

  97. It’s the daydream

    At this juncture,what we did in WW2 is a dream that we can never bring again to fruition unless there’s a huge assault on our system in which case my “daydream” becomes a strategic option.

  98. They are seriously nuts over there, how does one stay sane; they make the town in Footloose, seem like Vegas

  99. @ CK MacLeod:

    That’s not their plan, IMO, to the extent “they” have a plan, but, if it is, it’s a very poor plan.

    lol.
    they plan to bleed us dry.
    how many more trillions can we pour into MENA?
    insurgency is cheap.

  100. And you want to surrender to them, when you strip out the 8th grade
    semiotics, that has never worked before

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