27 December 2007

Quotes for the day

"Benazir was a secular woman who vowed to fight the terrorists more aggressively than the Pakistani male leaders had. In the jihadis' universe, nothing more terrible could be imagined than a secular woman waging a potentially victorious war against them. The freedom of women in the world—with the frightening prospect of the domination of men by women in any form, from the class-room to the ballot box—drives them around the bend. As she knew. She was one of many women in the front lines of the war against the terror masters, and I often think that, after the American armed forces, brave women are indeed the greatest threat to our fanatical enemies. And they know it, which is why they killed her."

"This is not some extraordinary event. This is not the work of some lone madman. This is how militant Islamists contest elections – not just in Pakistan but also in Lebanon and Gaza and wherever they they get a foothold. Why bother with opeds, TV commercials, high-priced campaign strategists, spin doctors and pollsters when with one suicide bomber you can eliminate your opponent entirely?"

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9 Comments:

Blogger John Evo said...

Cliff May said: This is how militant Islamists contest elections

This is how all fanatics and true believers contest elections. American fanatics do it clandestinely via CIA and "special ops". The whole world knows when our fingerprints are on it and the whole world sees our government as non-secular.

This is why I continue to press for American society rejecting religious fundamentalism. We have to set the example. As it is, Islamic fanatics can point to us as a different version of them.

I give us more credit than that, even with the religious cloud that hangs over U.S. politics. But it's a hard argument to sell to outsiders. If we had the secular government of a place like Denmark, our moral authority in these matters would increase manifold.

27 December, 2007 19:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

This is comparing apples and -- not oranges, but maybe basketballs. CIA assassinations of foreign leaders -- which in any case are very rare events -- have nothing to do with American fundamentalist fanaticism. Whether objectionable or not, they are instruments of foreign policy such as most powerful states -- Christian, secular, or otherwise -- have used from time to time.

The real equivalent of the Bhutto assassination, or of the kinds of political murders which Islamists routinely carry out all over the world, would be a Christian fundamentalist assassination of someone like Mitt Romney or Hillary Clinton -- or even of Richard Dawkins or Carl Sagan. Can you point to a single example of such a murder in the last 100 years of American history?

Anyone who reads my site knows that I hate and fear the Christian Right. But I do give them credit for one thing: while their goals are almost as loathsome as those of the Islamists, they are almost never violent.

Yes, they are evil, and yes, if they actually achieved their goals (even peacefully), the United States would be plunged into a nightmare of barbarism and stagnation. But they cannot be put in the same category with the Islamists. Efforts to do so actually weaken secularism by associating it with wild exaggeration and self-evident absurdity.

27 December, 2007 20:34  
Blogger the chaplain said...

I think Infidel is correct. American Christian theocrats are a real threat, but they are basically peaceful. They will work, more or less, within the established legal and political systems to achieve their ends. They will bend and twist those systems as far as possible, but they will not step too far outside of the boundaries. They know that assassination and acts of terror will neither endear them to the people, nor cow the people into submission.

Having said that, there are also kooks who take matters into their own hands for a range of reasons only they can fathom.

28 December, 2007 06:21  
Blogger John Evo said...

I thought I took care to make clear that I wasn't equating the two - except to say that the actions we take, and I'm not just talking about the rare CIA assassination, (which isn't as rare as you think when it comes down to lower levels - think "suspects"), are somewhat rightfully viewed by the Islamic world as acts perpetrated on behalf of a religious agenda. Until the U.S. is clearly and unambiguously acting from purely Humanistic grounds, this will be an ongoing problem.

28 December, 2007 22:22  
Blogger handmaiden said...

They know that assassination and acts of terror will neither endear them to the people, nor cow the people into submission.

Yeah, you'd have to turn the U.S. into a theocracy or a fascist state for that to happen. Maybe a Fascist theocracy?
...first you take away the citizens rights by destroying the Constitution & turning the country into a Police state by cooking up moral & never ending wars on crime, drugs, terrorism, etc...all the while using established religious concepts to convince above mentioned citizens that providence is on the side of who ever is in power...

Oppression of freedom, be it political, religious or individual expression, however subtle, will sooner or later lead to uprising (probably violent). Which will then have to be tamped by reciprocal violence...

The point is it can happen here.

29 December, 2007 08:06  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Bin Laden has already denounced the United States as the world center of atheism -- which shows how little the reality of our society influences these nutcases' perceptions of it.

In fact, the more explicitly secular they perceive the United States as being, the more they will loathe it. We must run America based on what is good for America, not based on whether something will make the Islamists hate us slightly more or slightly less. Conservatives have argued that we should stop being so tolerant of homosexuals, because such tolerance is just one more thing that makes the Islamists regard us as evil. It probably does, but so what?

The point is it can happen here.

Well, I can't prove it couldn't happen here -- it's impossible to prove a negative -- but the US is nowhere near being fascist or a theocracy. A government can do very, very bad things and still not be even close to fascism or theocracy.

"It" is probably less likely to happen here than anywhere else in the world.

More to the point, why is it that whenever the evils of Islam are pointed out, the reflexive response is to say "America does bad things too, so let's talk about that instead."? I know that Christianity is evil and that Bush is the worst President in decades. Those things have no relevance to the subject of this posting.

29 December, 2007 08:30  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

In all honesty, several times this kind of thing has brought me almost to the point of deleting this site and giving up on blogs entirely. I almost feel like I could write a posting saying in its entirety "The sky is blue", and someone would post a comment saying "Yes, but Bush is evil! Why are you ignoring the fact that Bush is evil?"

And yes, the religious ones are even worse. I've had people write comments consisting of interminable cut-and-paste proselytizing screeds in "response" to my postings on religion. The reason you don't see those is that that's what the comment moderation is for.

29 December, 2007 08:45  
Anonymous handmaiden said...

A thousand apologies. That was over the top & off the subject. I don't want you to quit blogging, for christ sakes! I happen to like your blog. :)

29 December, 2007 16:56  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Handmaiden, I appreciate your understanding. What I said there was directed to John's comment as much as yours.

The comments policy makes it clear that I will reject comments on the grounds of, among other things, irrelevance. I'm serving notice on everybody that from now on I'm going to start enforcing that.

If I write a posting about Islam, and someone writes a comment saying basically "Yes, but Bush and the fundamentalists are evil, so lets talk about that instead of what your posting was actually about", I'm going to reject it.

It's not that the evils of Christian fundamentalism and the Bush administration aren't an important subject. I've certainly written plenty of postings about that. But this posting was not about that subject.

I write long postings about the dangers of Christian fundamentalism in America and get hardly any comments on them. Instead people go to my postings on completely different subjects and try to start arguments with me about Christian fundamentalism in America, as if I hadn't vociferously condemned it elsewhere. I'm sick and tired of it and it's going to stop.

30 December, 2007 07:50  

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