Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Appeasing Osama

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  • nic.wise,

    Well, lefty liberals, there's only one thing for it. We need to gather in our tens of thousands at some large site - say, a stadium - and conduct ourselves in a liberally depraved fashion, hour upon sordid hour, to the festering accompaniment of the Devil's music. Today would be good.

    Because if we don't, the terrorists will win.

    Russell, did you write that whole post just to get those last two para's in?

    :)

    Have fun at the BDO. I'm off to Varekai myself...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Here's fun: what do Public Address readers think lay behind Al Qaedas motives for an attack on the US?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    D'Souza is half right but, more significantly, half wrong.

    It's true that bin Laden's motives are a reaction to his perceived threat of Western liberal values. So to that extent liberals are "to blame".

    But of course D’Souza’s remedy of backtracking on liberal values is completely crazy, at least to any liberal.

    It's true that there are other religious groups besides Islamic extremists that are violently opposed to modernism - Christian abortion clinic bombers for example - and to that extent they are in the same league.

    The good news is that D'Souza is not representative of any influential part of the US government.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    In piecing through Al Qaeda's motives I find it interesting to note [pointed out in Grag Palast's Armed Madhouse] that among the people urging Iraqis not to destroy their oil wells were Osama Bin Laden.

    The connection between that and the Twin Towers is extremely tenuous, but I thought I'd throw that in there.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But of course D’Souza’s remedy of backtracking on liberal values is completely crazy, at least to any liberal.

    It's the sheer extent of the backtracking I find alarming. He really gives the impression that he'd like a sort of theocracy, and one that would severely limit the perceived excesses of Hollywood, the media and democracy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • matthewbuchanan,

    Esquire editor Mark Warren challenges D'Souza to put up his fists...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    Russell: great post.

    It's true that bin Laden's motives are a reaction to his perceived threat of Western liberal values. So to that extent liberals are "to blame".

    So why doesn't Bin Laden say that? The only Americans to whom he objected before 9/11 were the US troops in Saudi Arabia. And why does he keep talking about "crusaders?" If he is worried about gay rights activists and feminists, he is keeping very quiet about it. What he does talk about is American military, economic and political power in the Middle East.

    .

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Paul, bin Laden wants a fundamentalist pan-Islamic state - he's said over and over that "Western" liberals values are the enemy. Yes, he opposed US troops protecting Saudi Arabia from Saddam, but that was just a small part of his motivation and goals.

    You think the Taliban regime liked liberal values?

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Funny but also depressing. Hooray for people that think cultural values are more important than not killing people.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1027 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    All D’Souza proves is a religious nut is a religious nut, the flavour doesn't matter.


    From Wishart to Bin Laden, they are all nasty pieces of work, angry and puzzled and afraid, its just a matter of how far they are willing to go to impose their craziness on the rest of us.

    No BDO for me, without a decnt boiler room a few hours of some half decent acts submerged in a sea of Emo's is more than flesh can bear.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish,

    If any fellow non-BDO goers are really bored, you can contribue to my Big Day In.

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 155 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    bin Laden wants a fundamentalist pan-Islamic state - he's said over and over that "Western" liberals values are the enemy

    Neil, if you can provide the quotes, I will concede that point. My understanding is that Bin Laden wants American troops to leave Saudi Arabia, regime change there and in other Middle Eastern monarchies and an end to Western involvement in the Middle East (especially in Israel, of course). It is western imperialism (for want of a better word) that bothers him.

    The Taliban are irrelevant: they confined their activities to Afghanistan.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Just how stupid is D'Souza? Evidently he's pretty damn dumb, as this interview with Stephen Colbert shows.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Verpal Singh,

    One of the stated aims of bin Laden before 9/11 was that he wanted US troops out of Saudi Arabia and he wants "regime change" in the whole of Arab world.

    1. He isn't the first one to seek regime change in the Arab world. The only difference is that all those who previously sought more say for common people in the Arab affairs (since 1950s at least) were ruthlessly put down either by client regimes of US, UK and France or were forced out by coups sponsored by these countries.

    2. Dinesh D'Souza tries to lay the blame for America's problems at the door of what he terms "liberals". That smells of propaganda as much of the hate garnered by the very mention of the word "USA" stems from actions of the "conservative" governments -- utter inhumanity in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Chile, Argentina of Nixon-Kissinger years; Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras of Reagan years; support for persistent coups in resource rich African countries and dictators like Suharto.

    3. "Liberals" haven't exactly painted themselves in white in these areas, but their culpability stems from trying to pull USA out of the disasters that the "conservatives" have deliberately pushed it in to.

    4. "Conservatives" thrive in the knowledge that once a policy has been set, it is virtually impossible to change it. Take for instance the use of Veto in Security Council. Till 1970, USA made it a question of principle not to use its Veto power. But once Kissinger orchestrated the use of American Veto to protect Israeli interests, none of the US governments (whether Republican or Democrat) have been able to change or even modify this policy. In the 36 years of UN's 60 years that US used its veto, more than 90% of the time it has been used to protect Israeli interests. (Of this 90%, nearly 90% of the vetos were exercised by the Republican governments, with the first American veto of an Indian sponsored Security Council resolution critical of Israeli actions in the aftermath of 1967 war, forcing the hand of Egypt and Syria to start the 1973 war, as these country saw the UN door shut in their face.) Effectively, thus, American Veto is actually an Israeli proxy.

    And proxies are always dangerous -- and always for the one acting as the proxy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    Paul, I'll try and find some quotes but other evidence is that his second in command is Ayman al-Zawahiri - who attempted to ferment an Islamic revolution in Egypt. Bin Ladenwants to replace current Arab governments with fundamentalist regimes - they will most certainly be hostile to liberal values. The Taliban regime is not irrelevant as it's an example of the sort of thing bin Laden stands for.

    But D'Souz's argument is about Islamic extremism in general, not just bin Laden -

    ...the cultural left has fostered a decadent American culture that angers and repulses traditional societies, especially those in the Islamic world, that are being overwhelmed with this culture. In addition, the left is waging an aggressive global campaign to undermine the traditional patriarchal family and to promote secular values in non-Western cultures. This campaign has provoked a violent reaction from Muslims who believe that their most cherished beliefs and institutions are under assault.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    bin Laden wants a fundamentalist pan-Islamic state - he's said over and over that "Western" liberals values are the enemy

    I'd be surprised to hear bin Laden referred to 'western liberal values' - it's a distinction I doubt he'd bother to make. Usually when Al Qaeda complain about values they're talking about 'pagan', or 'pre-Islamic' values, a broad church including Communism, Capitalism, Atheism, Judaism, Socialism, Christianity, Shi'a Islam and any kind of secular form of government including the Saudi Royal Family.

    bin Laden sees all of these beliefs as different facets of one huge anti-muslim conspiracy - I'm sure he's aware that there's a difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, but I think it's about as significant to him as the distinctions between, say, the Hanbali and Salafi schools of Sunni Islam are to George W.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    I can't understand a word Osama says, for me a non-Arab? speaker, it's always filtered through the mysterious Osama Video Release Mechanism (the US). He is almost like an invention of Marvel Comics, but he has been partly responsible for stabilizing the price of oil.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    ...as this interview with Stephen Colbert shows.

    He's having Bill O'Reilly on next.

    And Colbert's on The O'Reilly Factor

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    if indeed osama does use the term 'liberal' (or Arabic equivalent), do you suppose that he's using it much like western conservatives use 'PC'?

    a catch-all for anything your listeners don't quite get, but are 'agin'?

    and can someone explain the origin of the 'osama's plan was to bankrupt the USA by drawing them into afghanistan' mythology? doesn't that tie into his grand scheme?

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • rodgerd,

    Paul, Neil will most likely have some difficulty providing quotes from bin Laden; consider, for example, bin Laden's praise for Sweden, which is far more friendly to gays, feminists, and pornographers than the United States has ever been.

    I've just finished reading La Vie en bleu, and I was struck by the similarity between the love so many modern religious conservatives seem have for their nominal enemies (witness the present US government work with Iran to strike down UN-sponsored efforts on gay rights, reproductive education in the third world, for example) with the way the members of what would become the Vichy regime were drawn from the French right; they were far happier with a world in which they were free to round up the left, take revenge on the Dreyfusards and Jews, and do away with the Republic, even at the expense of being under German occupation, than they were with democracy.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Piers Scott,

    The issue of where you sit on conservative Islam is too often equated to your position on the political spectrum ie, radical Christian Islam-haters on the right, and liberal Islam-sympathisers on the left. But this crude assumption does not hold true. It is possible to vote Labour, refute the justification for the war in Iraq yet still be critical of the extreme liberal-minded people in our own society that suggest any religion, even one that calls for the killing of non-believers, must be respected and is beyond moral scrutiny and discussion.

    Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, does not go as far as D'Souza in saying that liberals in America have brought it upon themselves, but does say that liberals and religious moderates, are the ones that stop us from looking at the REAL problem, which is that this religion was dreamed up by a bunch of guys in the desert thousands of years ago, and has not evolved, been scrutinised or questioned one little bit due to the fact that any belief is seen to be beyond scrutiny. I’m as liberal as they come on issues of sexuality, freedoms of expression etc, but find myself agreeing with Sam Harris that at some point we’ve got to look at the beliefs we are preserving here, and subject them to the same moral and rational scrutiny that has been applied to primitive ideas such as the world being flat and the medieval belief that headaches could be alleviated by trepanning to allow the demons to escape! Have a read. The message is as relevant to left-wingers as it is to the right.

    Since Jan 2007 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    This late into the game I'm bemused that there is any real question as to why Osama's crews attacked on 9/11. The blowback from 50 years of western, and in particular, US & UK intervention and interference in the ME was obvious.

    Rightly or wrongly (and there is a great deal of wrong in the blanket assumption, there is plenty of blame to go around) the United States is blamed for much of the agony of the ME in recent decades.

    The idea that "they too should suffer", and the strikes at the financial and military symbols of the entity that is deemed to have opened the door to such pain are obvious. The notion that western culture was a primary target is a non-starter...it may have been a convenient tag to add on afterwards but little more.

    Nobody flew a plane into MTV's headquarters...

    The bigger questions are why did it take so long, and when will it happen again (and from who...there are, courtesy of the events of the last five years, now dozens more players who would like to take a shot at the "great satan" at home)

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    piers, not so sure that Islam is as static as you have been lead to believe. or at least no more orthodox than say, the catholic church.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2042 posts Report Reply

  • Piers Scott,

    Fair call Che. Nor can it be said that the United States is entirely secular. It will be a long time before a self declared non-christian will ever be elected to the white house.

    And for that reason 'End of faith' draws no distinction. At present we don't subject any religions to the 'rationality' test.

    Since Jan 2007 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    And we don't subject our leaders (venerable and long-lived may they be) to psychological tests either.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

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