Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Insurgents Battle For Sixth Straight Day

Looks like the "insurgents" are winning in France. France has become France's Vietnam. It is a quagmire.

It is remarkable to see this kind of thing happen in France because of the age-old fascination with French identity. It will be fascinating and somewhat scary to see where this goes.

One thing is for sure. Platitudes about the need for "dialogue" with the rioters are not going to stop much of anything.


Jackson said...

Is 'No Tolerance' the same as intolerance?

It seems to be a racial thing - so it's more like France's Watts, but with more modern methods of destruction.

Dave Cavalier said...

It really is more of a Muslim thing than a racial thing.

Jackson said...

Well whatever you call it when this group of people don't like the way they are treated by another group of people....

Dave Cavalier said...

I'd say it's more a case of what happens when this group of people is told constantly by their leaders that the other group of people are blaspheming God and it is okay to kill them for it.

Jackson said...

These aren't the insurgents you're looking for.

Dave Cavalier said...

These aren't the insurgents we are looking for.

Chrispy said...

Most of the residents of these neighborhoods are Muslim, but I don't really see what that has to do with it.

The rioting seems to be born more out of poverty, distrust of the government and police, and residents' belief that the system is against them. These riots started after kids were killed and the police were blamed.

I think this has happened once or twice in this country, but no one says "It's a Judeo-Christian thing."

By the way, I think we've killed more Muslims than they've killed Christians. Just a hunch. (Anyone want to look up the numbers and dispute this?) We are constantly being told that the other side is blasphemous. We are also told they deserve to be killed.

Talk about hypocrisy walking hand in hand with the pot calling the kettle black.

Americans are better at killing others than any nation in the world, and we do it more than any other nation.

Is this against God's will?

Think about it.

Jackson said...

Well, when you take a look at the grand scope, I'd say it's a safe bet that christians have killed more muslims, as well as more christians, jews, hindi, name it - we kill it.

But remember - we're the good guys.

Dave Cavalier said...

We haven't been killing people in the name of Christianity for years now. Maybe it's time Islam moved out of the 14th century?

Chrispy said...

Now we kill them in the name of money. But we're a Judeo-Christian culture, and we wage war in support of this culture. To deny this is to live a vey conveniently naive life.

Whether you call it "God" or "The American Way," the end result is the same. Killing is wrong. Hard to believe otherwise intelligent people will sit around and pit "our" justification against "their" justification, as if either is right.

But hey, whatever helps you sleep at night.

Anyone got any numbers? Who's killed more than we have?

Dave Cavalier said...

Who's we? America?

Pretty much all of Western Europe, Asia and Africa have killed more than we have. By orders of magnitude.

Dave Cavalier said...

Chris -

I have to disagree with several of your contentions.

1) We don't kill better or more than any other nation. Think of the situations in Rwanda, Sudan, Saddam's Iraq, etc. The rest of the world is FAR more efficient and proficient at the killing game than the United States.

2) Islam itself calls for the killing of non-believers in its founding documents. These calls are just a few passing mentions; there is a high level of detail on who can and cannot be killed. There is a worldwide movement that has shown itself willing to act on that instruction. This is a problem that must be acknowledged and not buried under the banner of "multi-culturalism."

3) If Americans are killing people for money, we are doing a pretty bad job collecting.

Dave Cavalier said...


That should have been "these calls ARE NOT just passing mentions."

Chrispy said...

If you broke it down by how long we've been around (America) and how well we've done in the killing department, I think you'd agree we're pretty efficient.

If you define "we" as the infidels or the unbelievers, than your statement about Europe, Asia, and Africa supports my point.

There is great debate about the Qur'an's calls to violence. The Qur'an was written in response to very specific threats against Islam which are no longer valid today. Many modern Muslims and Islamic scholars do not believe it was meant to be interpreted literally forever. They're not trying to deny the language exists or that's it's very unambiguous, just that it shouldn't be applicable today.

Obviously not all Muslims agree. But then again, not all Christians believe in turning the other cheek, or a lot of the other tenets of Christianity.

This isn't some PC liberal thing. It's trying to actually understand the road Islam is heading down, and it's a very unclear and ill defined road at this point. To continue lumping it all together as a jihad-happy terrorist religion is just too simple, and won't actually solve the problem, which is that we are killing each other.

Dave Cavalier said...

I'm not lumping it together, I am pointing out that the text is a problem, as you yourself say. And it seems that this IS the road that Islam is heading down and that is a big problem.

And it is a fundamental difference that Christians are not out there, on a worldwide scale, taking part in acts of violence aimed at killing "infidels." That is the case with Islam right now and it is a problem.

Of course, another fundamental difference is that the New Testament doesn't feature calls to kill anybody.

Dave Cavalier said...

On our killing efficiency and the length of time we've been around.

In less than one half of that time, in the 20th century, non-Americans managed to kill hundreds of millions through two world wars and political and religious persecution and outright genocide.

Americans are pikers by comparison.

Chrispy said...

I don't believe it's the road Islam is heading down. I think it's the road some groups of Muslims are heading down. I also believe that Islam will deal with this or self-destruct. And I don't really think you or I are in as much danger of being killed by a Muslim as a Muslim living in Iraq is in danger of being killed by an American.

If you read most of these sections of the Qur'an in context, they are preceded by verses that explain that they are talking about Muslims that are being persecuted, not Muslims in general.

Also, we didn't need the New Testament to call on Christians to kill. Their leaders did a perfectly good job of that.

Chrispy said...

I thought we were involved in those world wars.

Dave Cavalier said...

I disagree on the risk to an Iraqi Muslim. They are not likely to die at the hands of an American. They are likely to die at the hands of a Muslim who is killing them in the belief that they are moving forward the aims of Islam. And before Americans were there, they were very likely to die at the hands of Saddam's forces.

I have already (literally) dodged one attempt by Muslim fanatics to kill me (on 9/11), so I don't share your comfort that the risk to us here is low.

I do agree that Islam will either deal with it or self-destruct. Unfortunately, I really don't see much evidence that Muslim leaders are trying to deal with it.

Chrispy said...

OK, forget it, you're right.

Islam is based on killing non-believers.

Christianity is less violent.


Dave Cavalier said...

On a purely textual basis, I think it would be hard to claim otherwise.

Also, at the dawn of the 21st century, Islam is the only major religion where there is a broad-based group that is actively using violence to defend the faith.

I don't think this is a revolutionary claim, or even a claim at all. It's just the current state of things.

Yes, Christianity has had plenty of violence in its name of its history. I don't understand why that would bind me from pointing out that modern Islam is doing the same thing or that any similar actions from modern Christians would provoke very loud, broadly-based condemnation of the sort that we have not seen in the Muslim world.

Dave Cavalier said...

Of course we were involved in the World Wars. We just weren't on the side that was killing millions of people in the name of racial purity or a Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.

If your position is that anything other than 100% pacifism is morally unacceptable, that's fine. Obviously I disagree, but it is certainly an consistent, defensible position.

Dave Cavalier said...

BTW, I think it is a little unfair to characterize my argument as "Islam is based on killing unbelievers."

Jackson said...

Chritians have killed more Muslims since the founding of both faiths. The 'killing text' that you refer to is in response to Christain slaughter of Muslims.

As for America, well, we kill good and all, but the African nations seem to be real good at killing eachother, and their own.

One thing I think we all can agree on is that there's quite a bit of it about.

Can that be addressed? Is it human nature? Is it part of 'God's Plan'?

I know I never killed anyone.

Dave Cavalier said...

I think we have to have some citations around controversial statistics like "Christians have killed more Muslims since the beginning of the faiths."

Don't forget that Islam made significant military inroads into Europe up until the 1600s. And those Muslim armies killed a hell of a lot of Europeans.

Dave Cavalier said...

How can the killing text have been in response to the slaughter of Muslims by Christians when there were no Muslims before the text?

Chrispy said...

It's generally accepted that the Qur'an's verses dealing with violence were written in Medina, the city to which Muhammad fled after leaving Mecca. Mecca and Medina were soon at war.

The verses that present a more peaceful view of Islam are generally thought to be from his time in Mecca.

The Qur'an was written gradually, and as Muslims fought more and more violence made it into the text.

Speaking of Americans and their lack of genocides, how about all those people that lived in North and South America before the Europeans arrived?

Obviously we don't know how many were here. Estimates range from 40 to 90 million. Did they all move?

Of course, we weren't Ameicans yet - these were European settlers committing genocide. But make no mistake - this country is founded on genocide and slavery.

Also - until 9/11, what was the largest terrorist attack (in terms of lives lost and damage done) on US soil? Who were the terrorists, and what jobs had they formerly held? What religion were they? What nationality?

Sorry to miscategorize your argument, but I think your only description of Muslims in these posts has involved their killing unbelievers. Once again, I think the issue is a little deeper than that.

Islam is the Communism of the 21st Century. They eat babies, too.

Dave Cavalier said...

Well, Communism did manage to kill 100MM people and effectively imprison more. I know it is fashionable to pretend that Communism was some bugaboo made up by the American right, but it wasn't.

On the text of Islam, I'm willing to stipulate your point about the context in which they were written. But so what? The context is irrelevant because Muslims read the text (not the context) as the received word of God. Remember, Mohammed is "reciting" the literal word of God in the Koran. If you are accepting the text in that fashion, the context of the composition passages is completely irrelevant because the passages weren't composed at all. They were merely written down, dictated.

On the subject of the native people of the Americas, I am not trying to pretend that these things did not happen. I am challenging your point in making reference to them.

Yes, there was slavery in America. Yes, there was genocide of the native population. Of course, there was slavery and genocide everywhere in the world. These are human problems. I would argue that the achievement of Western Civilization is that we have reached a point where we do NOT have slavery and genocide in Western countries. We have identified it as morally repugnant. I don't understand why what happened in, say 1843, should prevent me from pointing that something bad is happening today.

Currently, Islam has a problem because its founding text features calls to kill infidels and those passages are being used actively by faithful Muslims. More importantly, there does not appear to be a lot of open condemnation of these acts from Muslim leadership. Far from it. Imams actually ENCOURAGE it openly and with support.

If the Koran is the Word of God to a believing Muslim, you cannot argue about context because they are interpreting the text as devout Muslims should.

I am merely suggesting that Islam needs to figure out what to do about this problem.

I know you are trying to raise the canard of the Oklahoma City bombing, but let's not forget that Islamic fundamentalist bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 and have attacked American targets and killed American citizens all over the world. If you are trying to argue that they are not looking for ways to attack the mainland U.S. again and kill many, I have to disagree strenuously.

Chrispy said...

What I'm saying is that there are a lot of forms of terrorism. In the West, in the Middle East, in the far East.

It has become very fashionable to equate terrorism with Islam (I'm not saying you're doing this, but it's not a big leap for a lot of Westerners). There are passages in the Koran that are calls to violence, but the context I'm talking about is both the context of the time in which they were "dictated" (dictation is still subject to context, of course) as well as the context of the words within the Koran itself (ie, that they were mainly talking about infidels who were attacking Muslims).

If you were a devout Muslim, I'll bet you would see Bush's speeches about hunting down and killing terrorists - which are currently being equated to Muslims - as a form of terrorist rhetoric. And the fact that there are groups and leaders willing to exploit this is hardly surprising.

Of course the Muslim leadership needs to deal with these issues. Much of it is. Much of it isn't. That parts that aren't still believe they are being hunted off the earth. This won't be easy to change, but there are a lot of educated Muslims that understand the subtleties of what the word of God means to Muslims, and that religion, as a human endeavour, is subject to the human condition.

It's like a "devout" Catholic's relationship to the Pope. There are extremes, as we know. Good Catholics bomb abortion clinics, and Good Catholics condemn their actions.

A few years ago, the biggest perceived threats to the US's security were militia groups operating within our borders. What happened to them?

My point about communism, the above mentioned militias, and genocide in the Americas is simply to point out that we're constantly shifting our focus. We'll do it again. Will it solve any problems? Yesterday Tim McVeigh (fought in the first Gulf War, and was highly decorated!), the day before yesterday Communism, tomorrow... what? Probably whatever is politically most powerful.

Are we dealing with the issues here, or just lining up the enemies? And you can destroy people many ways. You don't need a bomb, and to many non-Americans the Western way of life is akin to a form of "cultural terrorism."

Anyone who kills another person is wrong. That's simply how I see it. I guess you'd call this pacifism, I call it humanism. And it's clear you're interpreting my comments as a liberal vs. conservative thing. I think of it as a little bigger than that.

By the way, Germany is and was in the West, as far as I know. That genocide wasn't that long ago. I don't really think the West has transcended human nature by a long shot.

Tony Alva said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again... Those who believe that the fundamental problems we're having with regard to Middle Eastern terrorism have nothing to do with the text and nature of the Islamic faith are the same people that ran up on the roof of the building to greet the invading aliens in that stupid movie Independence Day. Islam as a whole will have to at some point decide to divorce their extremist right wing, or suffer the consequences for their tacit approval of killing infidels. Other than a few Imans in the UK who bravely spoke out following the terror attacks there this past summer, I have heard not a single denouncement from Middle Eastern based religious leaders. With what is going on in Iran I’d say the situation is going to get worse fast. Sadly, I think Iran will be the ones who finally push Europe’s buttons enough to provoke real crisis. “Wipe Israel off the map…” and firing any reformists left in the Iranian parliament does not sound like a guy who’s stumping for a better understanding of Islam. It sounds like a guy stoking jihadist fires and preparing for war.

Dave is on the nail with what he speaks. We can be as guilty as you want the American people to be about histories atrocities, but it won’t change what is going on now. I’m not a gun toting paranoid guy, but if you’re not at ALL afraid of jihadists affecting your mortality considering where you live, you’re indeed a fearless soul.

Dave Cavalier said...

We respond to threats. That's one of the things governments do. Sadly, that often involves warfare, which leads to killing.

We're not "hunting" Muslims off the face of the earth. We are hunting people who are openly and clearly calling for the destruction of the United States and the killing of its citizens. Further, they are acting on those claims. It's not like these calls are hidden.

I am not seeing how that makes the danger a construct created in the "us versus them" mindset of Americans or Western culture. At some point, a spade is a spade.

I'm also not sure what you are suggesting as a course of action. Total isolationism? No defense of national interests against people who openly call for our destruction? Should we have made no response to 9/11? I would suggest that the boldness of 9/11 was prompted by 25 years of lack of real response from the U.S. to attacks on our citizens and interests.

I'm sure we can all agree that killing is wrong. Unforunately, inaction that leads to the death of people is also wrong. How do we decide?

Jackson said...

There are MANY US based Muslim organizations who condem 'terrorism' and do not subscribe to the 'Kill the Infidel' ethic. They are on the news all the time. Maybe in ATL they don't get much coverage.

Which came first the Muslim or the egg? I was mistaken about the Koran's time of origin.

Can we talk about sandwiches?

Chrispy said...

I can't really spend much more time on this one.

Of course the text and nature of the Islamic faith has to do with terrorism, but it does not equal terrorism.

My problem is, and was, the comment "It really is more of a Muslim thing than a racial thing" in regard to the riots in France.

There are plenty of people who want to wipe the US off the map. Some of them live here and don't practice Islam. These people have been seen as threats in the past. No one's answered my question about what happened to them.

Iraq didn't blow up the WTC, as I'm sure you know. To deny what the war in Iraq is about is to toe the Republican party line, but that's another issue.

Of course you respond to something like 9/11. But has our response made us safer? Or more of a target? Isn't that the point of the response? The course of action would be to target and eliminate the specific threats, which we are not doing. We are going about it a bit willy nilly. Searching bags on the subway ain't doing shite. We got Saddam, but not Osama.

I think we've stoked the fires of war far more than the radical Islamic leadership in the Middle East has, to be honest. The war is not being fought in New York, regardless of the fact that two attacks took place here (an average day in Israel). The "War on Terror" is a political construct, like the "War on Drugs" or the "War on Poverty." (I guess these were won, since they no longer seem to be an issue.) Terrorism is a concept, not a group of people. It is specific action.

We are in far more danger from our own citizens than radical Muslims. You are much more likely to be killed by someone you know than by a radical Jihadist. That is a fact. We don't go after gun owners the way we do "terrorists," but we're a hell of a lot more likely to get killed by the former. If it's really all about protecting our people, then where are the priorities?

Damn, I'm glad I'm a big fat liberal!

You can tell me I'm wrong, that's OK. I probably won't respond 'cause I haven't done a damn thing at work yet today. And as an American, it's my duty to feed the system for my lousy paycheck.

Dave Cavalier said...

Chris -

Looks like we are pretty much at loggerheads at every point along the spectrum on this issue, so I suspect further debate is not going to change either of our minds.

We have a police force to protect us from people here at home. Gun ownership is a public policy issue that is discussed and debated in our legislature, but also informed by the Second Amendment.

On the "we've created more terrorists through Iraq" argument, I disagree. For the eight years preceding Bush we had a foreign policy that was super friendly to Muslim interests and somehow guys like bin Laden still managed to get worked up enough to keep attacking and attacking.