Category Archives: Iraq

Bush’s New Plan?

So, I am guessing this is Bush’s new plan for Iraq? Or is that the plan for Iran? Raiding Iranian embassies and kidnapping Iranian diplomats? Yeah, that will solve the U.S woes in the region.

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White man’s (and house’s) burden

The plot is becoming thicker by the day. The White House has apparently issued a statement on an alleged plot to “topple” the Lebanese government. Let us celebrate, the White House has just hired a bunch of Arabic-to-English translators, to better understand the speeches by and interviews of Lebanese politicians that make up the “axis of evil”… As for the intelligence element of this statement, for which the White House takes credit, let us give credit where credit is due: Al-Manar TV and HezbAllah itself, for the interesting interview yesterday with Hassan Nasrallah. So, the government is to be toppled (note that there is no reference to the methods of toppling the government except the threat of staging street demonstrations), and that is undemocratic how? Undemocratic as the orange “revolution” (i.e., coup d’etat, yes, that’s what it was), or the rose “revolution”, undemocratic as the U.S support for the undemocratic and authoritarian regimes of Azerbaijan’s Aliyev, Armenia’s Kocharian, Egypt’s Mubarak, and the lately-Arafatized “Abu Mazen” (who is living off the starvation of the Palestinian people)? Is this the latest joke? Just read Bush’s statement at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 19, 2006:

We Worked To Enforce A UN Resolution That Required Syria To End Its Occupation Of Lebanon – Then Our Enemies Set Out To Destabilize The Young Democracy.

When Hezbollah Launched An Unprovoked Attack On Israel That Undermined The Democratic Government In Beirut, The World United To Support Lebanon’s Democracy. Secretary Rice worked with the Security Council to pass Resolution 1701, which will strengthen Lebanese forces as they retake southern Lebanon and stop Hezbollah from acting as a state within a state. The President appreciates the troops pledged by France, Italy, and other allies.

We Are Employing The Full Array Of Tools At Our Disposal To End Tyranny And Promote Effective Democracy In The Middle East. We are speaking out against abuses of human rights by undemocratic governments in the region, publicly supporting democratic reformers in repressive nations, and using foreign assistance to support the development of free and fair elections, rule of law, civil society, human rights, women’s rights, free media, and religious freedom.

I know, I know, who takes this man seriously? He is better known for some of his idiotic remarks. But let us for a second consider the above remarks, and in particular the bits I have underlined. First of all, notice that while there is emphasis on 1701 (and Ms. Rice’s contribution to it – when Ms. Rice would’ve never imagined that things would go as far as Israel begging – literally – for a ceasefire), the operation on July 12 is referred to as an unprovoked attack, despite the fact that it could be taken as a response to constant Israeli provocations. But, of course, there is no talk about, not even the tiniest reference to, the violation of the blue line (at least the blue line, and not even the international border – two different things) by Israel prior to July 12. History starts on July 12, or if it dates further back, it starts at a point when HezbAllah launched rockets (in retaliation), which would, given the obvious ommission of what led to the rocket attack, be presented as an unprovoked attack by HezbAllah.

Furthermore, notice how the rhetoric has shifted from terrorism and fighting terrorism, to the rhetoric of democracy and democratization. Because the so-called war on terror has elicited widespread condemnation, be it regarding Iraq or Afghanistan, any plots vis-a-vis the region, and in particular in Lebanon, would have to be justified in terms of maintaining (or, as in the case of Iraq, in response to the exposure of the myth of the WMD, perpetuating the myth of creating) democracy. Thus, when you have Inerga rockets thrown around in Beirut, you get the justification for placing cameras all over the city, so that the democratically (sic – because can you really call it a democracy when the minority rules the majority?) elected government can maintain order (who cares about personal privacy anyway, or the fact that this is being used as a justification to extend and strengthen the arm of the police state), and when you have more Inergas thrown around after Nasrallah’s speech (and he did refer to the issue of the installation of the cameras), you might perhaps get the green light to connect those cameras to a satellite system (which was objected to by HezbAllah following the initial proposal, on the bases that it would provide free information to the Israelis). And who might just benefit from such a reality?

As for the so-called world unity in support of Lebanon’s democracy, which “world” is he referring to, and what unity exactly? Very typical statement, a string of words with no actual meaning behind it. Suppose that it is true that “the world united”, how can one support democracy or the elected government by massacring (or providing the bombs for that very purpose) thousands of civilians? Isn’t it a given that such an action would merely embitter the Lebanese against the bombers and their bomb-providers and supporters (even the so-called united world), and would encourage perceptions that the government is merely a spokesperson of these bombers/bomb-providers? How does that strengthen democracy, unless one is to go by the imperialist philosophy (killing = pacifying) with a propagandistic twist (killing to liberate)?

The worst (I would say it’s funny if it weren’t so tragic) part is actually the last paragraph; abuses of human rights by undemocratic governments. I take it that abuses of human rights by democratic governments are acceptable. OK. And a full array of tools? Does that include gun silencers ordered by the U.S embassy in Lebanon, Inerga rockets, etc.? Remember, if they kill you, and no one finds out about it until they find your corpse disposed of in some remote location, it means they had nothing against you. On the contrary, they were using all the tools at their disposal to “end tyranny”. But the 1.2 million cluster bombs are not tyrannical, nor is the 33-day bombardment campaign, nor are the massacre-orgies, nor in fact the aerial and naval blockade of an entire country (talk about using civilians as hostages/human shields) that lasted for more than a month and a half (but make no mistake, Miqati & co. were allowed to save their jets, and of course, many of our democratically elected leaders shuttled back and forth between Paris, Riyadh, and who knows where else; the same leaders who make no mention of the armed salafis in the north; can we not assume, since assumption is the name of the game, that they are in fact bringing weaponry to arm some factions, to counter HezbAllah? Could this not be part of the reference to the full array of tools at the disposal of the U.S, I wonder? If not, why not? And why are the converse assumptions and untruths sold to the press and the ignorant masses to be taken as absolute truths?).

And free and fair elections? Ironic,  because I can still see the Palestinians being starved to death for the sovereign choice they made in voting in free and fair, and perfectly democratic elections. What message is the U.S sending to the Palestinians? That democracy will lead to starvation. If this is to be taken as genuine belief in and attempts to spread democracy, then I don’t know what unegenuine ones would look like. And I don’t want to know, because I can only assume that they would be worse than the mass-starvation of Palestinians.

And what is meant by the reference to “effective democracy”? Is there ineffective democracy? And are these “ineffective democracies” to be dealt with by mass-starvation of the population? And what gives USA in particular, the right to decide what is effective democracy, and what is not? I have the answer at the end of this post.

Before I conclude, let me quote the following question put forth to Mr. Tony Snow, and the latter’s reply:

Q: Tony, with all the talk today about counterterrorism and the President’s visit to the center there today, I’m just trying to square that approach on actively engaging in the war on terror, and here you have a strong U.S. ally, Israel, come under attack from a terrorist organization, and the U.S. was all about diplomacy and settling that peacefully, as opposed to allowing them to engage in the war on terror. How does that square?

MR. SNOW: Well, wait a minute. The United States said that Israel had the right to defend itself. You’re seeming to imply that the United States put up a big stop sign. The United States did nothing in terms of trying to — again, Israel had its right to defend itself. Both of these efforts are designed to create peaceful ways to the future. If you interrupt a terror operation you’re saving lives. If you’re trying to find a diplomatic way out, you’re trying to save lives. They both have that in common.

But also in common is the desire to foster democracy and foster democratic dreams. And, interestingly, the two are related, because to the extent that you can build a stable democracy in Lebanon, to the extent that you can build a democracy with the Palestinians, to the extent that you build a democracy with the Iraqis, you’re sending a powerful message to the jihadis, or to the people that they would want to recruit, that there’s a better way. And so the two are related in that sense.

So, the question is: What gives USA in particular the right to decide what is effective democracy, and what is not?

And the answer: Continue reading

Killing for Peace is like…

So, the thing I dread most had to happen. We had guests over for “a cup of coffee”. These are not regular guests, so the “drinking coffee” part had to be translated to “having at least 3-4 coffee-sessions”. To make it worse, I was handed the task of “entertaining” them. OK. So we sit, discuss family affairs (after going around the point for some time, eventually they get to it, and ask me about my “dating status” – seriously, why do people think that is any of their business???). So having successfully passed the first half an hour of many half-hours, we had our first Arabic/Turkish/Armenian(or Mauritanian, Fijian, Baluchian, Zanzibarian) coffee. OK. So far so good. Then, for lack of anything else to talk about and “entertain” them with, I (silly me!! :-S ) mistakenly opened a can of worms… I asked something I will never dare ask again. Call it bowing to the desires of thought controllers (and terrorists), call it whatever you like!! I say, never, EVER, again! I asked, “sooooooo… any thoughts on the political scene………” Yeah. By the time we got to the second round of coffee, my semi-deaf gramma was complaining about a terrible headache. So, what happened was that we (well, they) were going ’round and ’round the same arguments, and quite loudly so (I will let my semi-deaf gramma’s complaint be the measure of how loud we – well, they – were). Actually, there were 3 sides in this mess. Me (solo), they (the guests), my dad (the devil’s advocate, who seemed intent on giving me a major headache). So, basically, it started with a discussion of General Michel Aoun. In truth, it started between them and my dad. My dad kept insisting that Aoun would make no difference, that no one would make any difference in Lebanon, so it was better to maintain the status quo (Hariri, Siniora) than abandon it. Mmmm! The guests respectfully disagreed, and defended Aoun’s position, following which a whole new can of worms was opened (and for once I wasn’t the one who opened it). Basically, a discussion of the herd mentality. Now this was a mess, because my dad was actually contradicting himself all the time (don’t give him my blog URL or you will regret it for the rest of your miserable life : -D ) and the guests were also blabbering on and on about “those Muslims”, whom they accused of having herd mentality, and believe me, much, much worse things… Well, at least they and my dad discovered they shared common ground on that one, which earned us a much-needed pause, the second coffee break! This is where things started going downhill. The discussion started to heat up even more, and at last we stepped into the tricky realm of imperialist, sorry, U.S foreign policy, and embarked on a discussion of the real purpose behind these policies vis-a-vis the Middle East, and the response that it has elicited from “those Muslims”. Actually, we had to clarify some matters before we embarked on such a topic, because while I insisted that the “roots of Muslim rage” – as the so-called Middle East affairs expert, Bernard Lewis, ingeniously (sic) calls it (Lewis is now busy crunching numbers to determine the date that the Islamists have chosen for their collective annihilation campaign against Israel) – have nothing to do with the personality traits and/or character of Muslims (and Arabs; another thing we differed on and clashed about was the interchangeable use of Arab and Muslim) and little to do with the cultural/religious identities that are prevalent in Muslim societies, the former being a rather bigoted if not utterly racist statement to make. Rather, the “roots of Muslim rage” have more to do with – among other things – reactions to threats (in speech or action) or, at any rate, perceived threats (the way motives and intentions are viewed and analyzed, etc.), and radicalization due to forceful isolation (if they think by isolating Hamas they would be solving anything, they might want to think twice, and actually realize that their actions will only serve to radicalize it, and along with it a very large segment of Palestinian society; although one can easily argue that Palestinian affairs have become increasingly “Lebanonized” – however, as Lebanonized as they might be, Lebanonization is never a cure for imperialists’ headaches; one would expect that the Americans would have learned at least that in their dealings with, in, and through Lebanon). Scholars have been studying the impact of political mediation for possible inclusion and acceptance into the body politic, on extremist parties. These studies have shown that extremist parties tend to moderate their speech and actions when they are accepted into the real political world so to speak, and more radicalized when they are not (see for example Lisa Andersen’s “Fulfilling Prophecies: State Policy and Islamist Radicalism” in Political Islam: Revolution, Radicalism, or Reform?, ed. John L. Esposito [Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1997]). But don’t expect Bernard Lewis to pay any attention to this. So back to my guests, who surprisingly adhered to my take on this, in contrast to my dad, who insisted that “Muslims/Arabs are aggressive by nature”, and therefore the Western attempts to “pacify” them are justified and even necessary. To his credit, he did admit that the crimes of the imperialist forces/factions were unjust, but of course, he had to insert the infamous “BUT” after that sentence… Now, the whole debate was not academic at all, not even closely inspired by academic knowledge. Rather, it was inspired by “street/salon(??) discussion of politics”, where you have the chicken-seller, the fisherman, the shoe-shiner, and worst of all, the Ferrari-owner, all philosophizing about the dynamics of superpower/great power foreign policy, international relations, and so on. Not that my opinion is more valid than theirs (certainly I do not subscribe to such hierarchical/supremacist categorization systems), but there is an ocean between, on the one hand words backed by research, sound analyses, and actual knowledge of both theories and historical facts, and on the other hand perceptions of facts, assumptions of motives and intentions, and so on. Moving on, my dad put forth the thesis that while USA was in Iraq not out of any dedication to human rights or concern for the violation thereof by Saddam Hussein’s regime, its intentions were nevertheless altruistic, in that the Bush administration has planned to re-draw the map of the Middle East to allow for peaceful co-existence between the different ethnic and religious groups. This is a preposterous assertion, on a number of grounds, which I pointed out one by one: 1) The concept of altruism is pretty subjective, and not only that, but using it in the context of U.S foreign policy (in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.), or what us activists used to write sarcastically on our banners, “killing for peace” [is like f*cking for virginity], is surely a travesty; 2) The problem with the so-called U.S perceptions that the (imperialist) re-drawing of the map drawn by European colonists/colonialists (or the toppling of minority-led regimes, and their replacement with majority-led regimes) would solve the long-standing issues and blood feuds between the various groups that make up the Middle East, is that it ignores the fact that any forceful drawing of borders that does not take into account the real concerns and grievances of the indigenous populations (and completely ignores aspects beyond ethnic/national/religious identities and/or divisions; for example, economic-territorial or strictly economic concerns) would leave a number of issues hanging in the air, institutionalize injustice in the name of justice (similar to the killing for peace concept), besides the fact that it would provide no guarantees that the relatively homogeneous newly-drawn states would not be at each others’ throats the minute the imperialist “protector” turns his back (perhaps this project does not stem from altruism after all, but from the role of protector and mediator that the U.S casts itself in, which would necessitate intervention and amounts to constant influence and interference), or that they would not embark on genocidal campaigns to rid the country of the minorities that might’ve been their previous oppressors, or against whom they might have historical grievances. For example, one has to consider the possibility that following the U.S withdrawal from Iraq, the Shi’ite regime in Iran might facilitate and even directly participate in the deportation and even mass-murder of Sunni Iraqis. Is this the U.S grand plan for “eternal peace” (ironic that these same people who are portrayed to be working on achieving peace are the very same people who believe in the inevitability and even desirability of an apocalyptic showdown)? My dad explains, yes, because there will be Saudi Arabia as a deterrence to such actions. I point out that this alleged deterrence is, at best, very shaky, and at worst, totally irrelevant and conducive to war, rather than peace; 3) As for the argument that this plan is merely the result of the failure of all attempts to reconcile east and west (one could go on for hours about the misleading orientalist oversimplification of the conflicts in the Middle East as a clash between east and west) – a prime example of which is, allegedly, the opening of the doors of immigration to Europe and North America for Muslims, with the hope that they would be “educated and illuminated” (!!) and that this would in the long run result in the de-radicalization of the countries they hail from (I fail to see how one can extrapolate in this manner), and which was turned down by Muslims, who “bit the hand that fed them” – what guarantees do we have that all the “killing for peace” would eventually result in the realization that war is ineffective and destructive, and would lead to the peaceful resolution of this clash (another problem with this is that it disguises unconditional surrender as the “realization that war is ineffective and destructive”) ?; 4) Interpretations of the U.S performance in Iraq are tailored based on the so-called plan to coerce Muslims into accepting that “war is ineffective and destructive”, which is based on the argument that “it should get worse before it gets better”. This is, according to the proponents of such a view, why the Sunni-Shi’ite clashes/war in Iraq are not necessarily a bad thing (indeed according to these people, they are necessary and welcome), at least from the perspective of the achievement of the long-term U.S aims (i.e. “peace”). This is a post-failure explanation and justification of a failure, and alters the facts of pre-failure/pre-quagmire rhetoric to adapt the “killing for peace” argument to the realities on the ground; 5) The complications in Iraq are said to be part and parcel of the very long process that would span decades, even centuries, until there is a surrender of Muslim will to the reality that they cannot transcend U.S/western hegemony and have to accomodate it (this is not the exact term used. For example, this submission to U.S hegemony is termed “co-existence” or “giving up on Jihadism”). However, on what bases are we to accept a plan that is based on a time-span that perhaps stretches much further than the actual life span of the U.S empire/hegemony would? How reasonable are expections and demands that we should accept a project on such a scale embarked on by a time-constrained entity? And what if, after all the “killing for peace”, the project shows no signs of achieving the stated aims? Last but not least, on what bases are we asked to believe that Jihadism is agreed upon by (let alone on the agenda of) Muslims across sects, boundaries, ethnic/national identities, political/personal/national interests, and levels of religiosity and extremism)?

These are some of the points I raised; of course, the discussion was so long and so messy (with, you guessed it, frequent interruptions, yelling matches, and whoever-is-louder-gets-to-have-the-stage competitions, Lebanese style of course) that I don’t remember all the arguments and counter-arguments. But suffice to say, a deafening silence reigned in the room following the challenge I mounted against these preposterous allegations and unsubstantiated claims of American altruism and good-will. At best, the only responses I received, for example when referring to the U.S-backed regime of the Shah in Iran, and the collaboration between the CIA, Mossad, and the Iranian Savak in the incarceration and systematic torture of thousands of dissidents, which was in response to the claims that the U.S was after peace and human rights and sharing of resources for the betterment of the world and our ability to survive the ecological/environmental challenges that await us (which are in turn the result of capitalist greed), were: “well, yes, these were horrible acts, BUT this doesn’t mean….”. Ah yes, the (in)famous “BUT”. So, after 3 coffees and 1 tea, I had had just enough of going in circles, as had my opponents (primarily my dad, since the guests were mostly nodding in approval of my arguments – though they did clarify on more than one occasion that they were “not saying this out of love for Muslims”, and that they “hate those Muslims more than anyone else”), who called for an end to the debate “because no one will convince the other”. Hah! What a climactic end to a 4-hour bout…

My apologies if my parantheses burdened your eyes with excessive strain… I am sure that if you listen to Bernard Lewis’s prescriptions all your problems will go away. Or so the White House thinks…

G’night!

Who said fascism was dead?

Fascism alive and kicking, eh?
Not that I had any doubts about it. A number of kilometers to our south there is a fascist regime, which constantly reminds us, with its violations of “our” airspace, that our fate is in its hands, that it is our God: it can allow us to live, or take life away from us with the push of a button. To make it worse, the whole region is home to a dozen or so totalitarian, fascist regimes, all of which were supported by USA (and Israel) at one time; some of them still are.

This entry was triggered by a column by Michael Coren that appeared in Saturday’s Toronto Sun, titled “We should nuke Iran”. Don’t ask me how it is that anyone could actually print such garbage. I am sure that by now, the folks at Little Green Footballs Fascists are devouring the pages of Toronto Sun for a taste of more columns of this sort.

Coren begins the article by a classical logical fallacy, dismissing those who might disagree with his thesis as unknowledgeable. Then he “boldly” drops the bomb, arguing that a nuclear bomb should be dropped on Iran. But don’t panic, hear it out, the man is actually quite sensible (sic) and assures us that there would be “a limited and tactical use of nuclear weapons to destroy Iran’s military facilities and its potential nuclear arsenal.” If you aren’t reassured, you are not knowledgeable. But since Coren’s assumption is that he is knowledgeable, we can assume that he is aware of Israel’s real (rather than potential) nuclear arsenal. Why is he so obsessed with Iran’s potential nuclear arsenal, then? The answer is simple. For Coren and millions of fascists like him, there are two definitions under fascism in the dictionary. There are “good fascists”, and those are the people who massacre a Canadian family visiting relatives in south Lebanon. Those are supported by the enlightened and civilized West and most importantly by Tories chairman Stephen Harper. Those are also the ones who oppress women, cut the hands of thieves, throw dissenters into dungeons, and execute homosexuals. They are loved by the media, and their acts – “massacres” always placed in quotation marks, making a mockery of the lives of those who have perished by their WMD – are hailed as strategic necessity. Then there are the “bad fascists”, and those are the ones who murder an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist. This necessitates international investigation, talks on nuclear non-proliferation, a clean-up of the human rights record, and so on. This will steal the headlines for weeks, months, years, whereas the aftermath of the merciful acts of the “good fascists” will be mentioned once or twice (if it’s your lucky day). They will never be on the headlines. Hockey, after all, is second to none. Well, none other than a “bad fascist” headline.

Coren then argues that dropping a nuclear bomb is “the only response that this repugnant and acutely dangerous political entity will understand.” There are a number of problems with this statement. First, has Coren tested all the other possible scenarios, and if so, would he enlighten us as to how he arrived to the conclusion that they would fail? Second, the Iranian regime might be “repugnant”, but the Israeli regime is no less repugnant. The Saudi regime is no less repugnant. The Egyptian regime is no less repugnant. The list goes on. It seems Coren is a man with an agenda, and from his complete disinteredness in the repugnancy of a number of regimes, which by far surpass the Iranian regime in their crimes, it seems that this agenda has nothing whatsoever to do with human rights. What, then, is Coren’s agenda? The answer to the question is in that very sentence. The Iranian regime is considered an “acutely dangerous political entity”. There are no clarifications as to whom it is dangerous for. The Saudis? The Sunni fundamentalists? Turkey? The Iranian/Persian people??? Or is Coren solely concerned with the threat it poses to the sectarian patron-protégé order in Lebanon (via HezbAllah), Israel, and the U.S/allied influence in and military hegemony over the region (facilitated by bases in many a dictatorial – but not repugnant by Coren’s standards – Arab regime)? Hard to tell, really, as Coren strangely does not see fit to elaborate.

Unrelenting a human rights and world peace advocate as Coren is, he terms the nuclear massacre he dreams of a “tragedy”, practically echoing what Shimon Peres once said referring to the Armenian Holocaust, “It is a tragedy what the Armenians went through, but not a genocide.” Yes, he says, people will die, “[b]ut not many”. A consolation. The lives it will save will be in the millions, he argues. The logic has been accorded legitimacy for centuries. What is the burning of a few thousand [heretics] at the stake when the aim is to save the souls of millions? The end justifies the means. Machiavellian ethics to the bone. Literally. The “civilized world” against the world of barbarians who must be subdued and civilized against their will. For their own good. Or so it goes. This is not fascism. This is liberation. And we all know that there are no ifs or buts when it comes to killing in the name of liberation (from whatever it might be, real or perceived). Coren argues that it would be more appropriate to question if there is any sensible alternative (and he assures us the answer will be no – but does not elaborate) than to be disgusted at the barbarism advocated. Even as he drums the tunes of war, he claims that the Iranian regime is obsessed with waging war against its perceived enemies. Its motives are unquestionable, he insists, yet he fails to elaborate as to how he arrived to that conclusion. Something tells me that logical argumentation is one of Mr. Coren’s weakest points. In yet another demonstration of his double standards, he points out that Iran spends billions developing missiles and weapons. Yet what is he implying by stating this fact? That Iran should be prohibited from doing so, but not Israel? That the Iranian regime becomes a dangerous political entity once it adopts such aspirations, but not the Israeli government? How does the Iranian regime differ from Israel? Israel’s human rights record is quite damning, more damning than that of Iran. The only real difference that I can think of is that Iran has used verbal threats and so far acted on none, whereas Israel has threatened a lot and remained true to these threats, massacring and destroying anything that stood in its way. The only fault of many of its victims was that they were moving. A country that is afraid of its own shadow can claim to have achieved victory but will know it will never win.

In a predictable albeit disgusting comparison to the Nazis, he argues that Iran, unlike the Nazi regime back in the 30s, has no “aggressive enemies” in the region. This is mind-boggling. It is evident that Coren has tried too hard to bring Nazism into the article somehow, however stupid it might actually sound. It seems that Mr. Coren, who places great emphasis on fighting fascism, needs a lesson or two in Nazi instigation, aggression, and occupation. But perhaps that would hit too close to home. Israel, after all, is considered a civilized nation. Surely the concept of lebensraum (living space), which formed the core of Nazi ideology and driving force, is an inalienable right? Moreover, isn’t threatening to nuke Iran an aggressive enmity enough to convince it that it needs the nukes to begin with? How would anyone in his/her right mind interpret the double standards that Coren endorses?

Then comes a ritual bashing of Ahmadinajad. The problem is that he controls a brutal police state (bad fascist compared to the good fascist leaders of, say, Egypt, or KSA, or Jordan), “finances international terror” and “provokes bloody [?!] wars in foreign countries” (bad fascist compared to the good fascists who practice and/or fund terrorism all over the world, from Palestine to Iraq to Afghanistan to Vietnam to Grenada and on and on it goes; or maybe I am geographically ignorant – perhaps Mr. Coren would explain to me where Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Grenada, and a whole lot of other countries are located in relation to the United States of America). He then argues, parroting the racist claim often voiced by Israelis that “Arabs only understand the language of force”, that Iran and its allies (only good fascists are supposed to have allies) “only listen to power and threat”. From the safety and luxury of his house in Canada, Mr. Coren beats the drums of war and decides that it is better (for the Middle Easterners) to undergo limited suffering than for everyone to suffer in five years. Somehow I doubt that had he been sitting anywhere in the Middle East he would have been advocating nuclear armageddon.

He closes (I do not want to say concludes, because there is no conclusion as there is no logical sequence of argumentation; there is only one idea, and everything else is manipulated in support of that) the article by directing a cheap shot at “post Christian churches” (?!) and “the Marxists” (as if there is only one interpretation of Marx and no diversity in Marxist movements). Yet another instance of fallacious reasoning. An example of ad hominem fit to be printed in a philosophy / logic 101 textbook. The “same sort” (same sort???) of people “moaned and condemned in 1938”, he points out, in another reference to the Nazis. I only wish that, for all his obsession with the Nazis and for the sake of his alleged dedication to fighting fascism, Mr. Coren would take a closer look at the history of WWII. Had he done so before philosophizing about the Nazi regime, he would’ve heard of the appeasements of Hitler by the conservative Chamberlain, or of Operation Barbarossa and its implications. But perhaps I am expecting too much of a fascist who talks about “post-Christian churches” and fantasizes about apocalypse.

By the way…

… still waiting for those widespread condemnations (by Coulterist standards, by “nearly all” Americans) in USA regarding Abu Ghraib. Funny that they are nowhere to be found. But then again, the “fact” that Americans always condemn such human rights violations is a claim that does not need to be substantiated (again, by Coulterist standards). What sparked this post was a blog entry I just came across, which sums it up pretty neatly. Now that’s another thing that made my day – to the dismay of some Coulterists. Ahem.

Kurdistan/Iraq

Michael Totten has an amazing post (well, photos) on Iraqi Kurdistan / Northern Iraq and the construction taking place there.

Note: This post is not to be taken as “proof” that I support the Kurds’ alliances or the construction craze going on there while the rest of Iraq is being painted with the blood of dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians (be they victims of suicide bombings/insurgent attacks or coalition forces) every day.

My response to neo-cons

A lively discussion is going on at the moment at Ann Coulter’s forum, but you need to register to see it (note: you can’t use a free e-mail address to sign up – the joys of capitalism!). The debate was on the – you guessed it – Muhammad cartoons issue, which was commented on by Ann in a column titled “Calvin and Hobbes- and Muhammad”.

My initial post went as follows:

Interesting column, although I disagree with most of its contents (not to talk about the manner it is written in).

First of all, allow me to demolish once and for all the argument that the Danish newspaper should’ve published the Jesus cartoons some time ago in order to prove that it believed in freedom of speech. The thing that many critics (Muslims, liberals, or other) of the Danish newspaper miss is that freedom of speech/expression is not about publishing everything; it is about publishing what one wants to publish… *

While I find the Western justification hypocritical (to say the least) – because you cannot have different standards for material on Islam and material on the Holocaust for example – I also find liberals’ and Muslims’ calls for censorship disgusting. Going around and saying ‘either censorship for all or freedom for all’ is utterly unprincipled, something the liberals and Muslims accuse the West / Europe of… So they should make up their minds, either they believe in freedom of speech AT ALL TIMES and FOR ALL PEOPLE, or they believe in CENSORSHIP AT ALL TIMES and FOR ALL PEOPLE.

And that’s about all I can say that might be applauded by the neo-cons (trust me, I am not saying all this to please you – just take a look at my username).

* I have changed my mind on the issue. Here is what I said on this issue a few days ago. Nothing wrong with changing one’s mind. It’s not a shame to rethink things through, quite the opposite, ruling out any challenge to one’s position is the epitome of ignorance. But let me clarify that I still think that the “freedom of speech” argument being made in Europe is hypocritical in light of the fact that there is no freedom of speech when it comes to expressing unpopular views on the Holocaust (a pretty damning example, which is why I mention it).

The first response I received was the following:

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