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Mutual Admiration

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Osama bin laden, the director of George W Bush’s re-election campaign, today issued a renewed call for jihad against America and expressed his profound gratitude to the American President.

“The President has been an enormous boon to my recruiting efforts. Ever since his incompetent intelligence services inadvertently allowed me to bomb the country on 9/11, I’ve been on a roll. My recruiting is off the charts. And every day, the Administration does something that really helps my cause.”

In particular, bin laden mentioned the invasion of Iraq. “By knocking out my big opponent, Saddam, and turning the country into a breeding ground for terrorists, he has really made my job easy. Words cannot express my admiration. Perhaps another suicide bombing will do the trick.”

Reached in the Far East, where he was on a campaign swing for his war on terror, Bush said he was “deeply honored” by bin laden’s words, and expressed his own gratitude for the al-Quada leader.

“Before 9/11, I was really sucking wind in the polls. But those attacks were literally a gift from the sky. I’ve now got the whole country cowed and the press bamboozled. And, as an extra bonus, we’ve got Iraq’s oil. Osama rocks!”

Bush said he hopes that Osama will launch another terrorist attack soon, in time to get the GOP re-elected in 2004. “It would be really great if it could happen the week of the Republican convention in New York next August. All those explosions will make a nice backdrop to my re-election speech. It’ll be just like the Fourth of July!”

The two also announced that they will soon record a duet version of Eminem’s “Without Me.” All proceeds will be split between the GOP and al-Quada.

“Two trailer park terrorists go round the outside;
round the outside, round the outside

Two trailer park terrorists go round the outside;
round the outside, round the outside
Guess who’s back
Back again
Osama’s back
Tell a friend

Osama’s back, Osama’s back, Osama’s back……”

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About mike larkin

  • BB

    Looks like Chris Arabia has got competition! I give it 4 out 5 tee hees.

  • Cog

    Osama can’t even take a picture with today’s newspaper. He is meat paste on the wall of some Afghanistan cave.

    But nice to see you buy into the cheap propaganda foisted by the Jihadi “left”.

  • LGF Fan

    This is trash!
    So sad to see a once fine bastion of level-headedness go the way of left-wing conspiracy theorists. Get a clue.

  • I *know* he’s alive. He was on Letterman just the other day!

    Osama and Dubya: brothers in arms… Ha! Get it? Thanks, folks, I’ll be here all week. Be sure and tip your servers.

  • Bottom line:
    Before the war in Afganistan, Osama had a country at his command, and all of the power and security that it entailed. No matter how you try and spin it, he now (if he isn’t dead) has to hide and run every day. al-Quada, although not completly wiped out, does not have the ability to do more than a suicide bomb here or there. al-Quada has, by all measures, lost almost everyone and everything of any real value.
    The war in Iraq will not prove to help al-Quada or any other radical muslim group, because it will bring democracy to part of the world that has never imagined it possible. When the Iraqi people do well under democracy, then the arab brothers will learn about freedom. That cannot be good, and is in fact the worst thing that can happen to radical/militant muslim groups, and the totalitarian governments that support them.

  • destroyAttemptsAtIrony

    C- at Brown University creative writing class. Go read Chomsky and listen to Saves the Day, you nonentity.

  • When one of our cities is incinerated, let’s all gather back here and discuss how funny this is.

  • mike

    I’ve gotten twenty!-TWENTY!-e-mails from pro-wars since I posted this only 3+ hours ago telling me that a) I’m not funny, b) I can go fuck myself, c) my mother is physically unattractive, and d) Osama should fly a plane into my house. I am deeply, deeply touched by all the love and affection.

  • Hey, Mike, it’s the American way, apparently. Surely you are not surprised by the crassness and cruelty of your unfortunate correspondents. You better shape up and say the pledge like everyone else, or expect to have your ass kicked.

    Seriously, folks, you either laugh or weep. Personally, whether bombs go off in New York, Baghdad, the Gaza Strip, Bali, or anywhere, they’ve bombed my city. When Americans are killed in Iraq, Israelis are murdered in Jerusalem, Palestinians are slaughtered in the West Bank, or anyone is slain anywhere, my people have died. Whether the murderer is Osama bin Laden, George Dubya Bush, an al-Qaeda terrorist, Ariel Sharon, or a Hamas militant, the horror and tragedy — and my bottomless grief — are the same. If humor can alleviate the pain even momentarily, I welcome it.

  • hmmmmm?

    *quote* Seriously, folks, you either laugh or weep. Personally, whether bombs go off in New York, Baghdad, the Gaza Strip, Bali, or anywhere, they’ve bombed my city. When Americans are killed in Iraq, Israelis are murdered in Jerusalem, Palestinians are slaughtered in the West Bank, or anyone is slain anywhere, my people have died. Whether the murderer is Osama bin Laden, George Dubya Bush, an al-Qaeda terrorist, Ariel Sharon, or a Hamas militant, the horror and tragedy — and my bottomless grief — are the same. *quote*


    Is this more parody or were you trying to be serious? I’m afraid I know what the answer is.

  • Ah, the American way. 🙁

  • Natalie,

    Fine sentiment, but misguided. What you’ve written (pardon if I seem patronizing) is called “moral equivalence.” Terrorists murdering 3000 unsuspecting and undeserving civilians in the WTC or destroying buses in Israel full of innocent women and children is not the same as George Bush using military means to eliminate those terrorists and their supporters. Yes, in both circumstances people died, and that is tragic for anyone that cares about others. However, in the first case, innocent civilians were deliberately targeted by those attempting to make a political point. In the second, the terrorists brought their own deaths upon themselves, by the fact that they insist on using terror as a weapon. They are reaping what they’ve sown. The argument that they have no other means to fight is nonsense – study the life of Ghandi for a different strategy to effectively protest oppression. Those people that are using terror to express their political and religious beliefs have other options, but they’ve chosen terror. They’ve forsaken their humanity, and so I feel no guilt, shame and little sadness that they are dieing at the hand of the U.S. military. The deaths I feel sad about are those of the victims of terror, not the perpetrators.

  • andy

    I used to like this place

  • Well, we are going to disagree on this, so there is no point in even starting this. You’re speaking with a pacifist who finds all violence immoral and Bush as much a terrorist as the suicide bombers. So let’s agree to consider each other misguided, OK?

    Oh — you and I do agree on one thing: Gandhi’s method is the only acceptable, moral method of resistance. I do wish the militant Palestinians would try it for a change.

  • Ah, Natalie. I see now where you’re coming from. At one point in my life, I might have agreed with you to some extent. After I became a husband and a father, my viewpoint changed. I could not see all violence as immoral, when it came down to protecting my wife and son. It wasn’t theoretical to me any more. While I still think violence is a poor solution, I think now that sometimes it is the only solution. It’s a sad, but true, fact of the human condition. There are those that will not negotiate.

    In any case, I doubt I will change your mind, and so, peace to you. I wish the world was as you would like it to be.

  • Heehee! Political satire gets better as US politics gets worse 🙂 Still, I wish it were the other way around…

  • Eric Olsen

    I am somewhat surprised when readers take any given post as “representing the site.” Other than the fact that I “edit” Blogcritics – which means look for spelling, coding, and basic writing errors – clearly there is no political litmus test for participating in Blogcritics. I try to give my perspective on any given matter, but a nonresponse is no indication of agreement on my part either.

    I would like to think, also, that my own perspective on most matters is fairly clear here. I am the most prolific contributor – everyone else has their own home site, this IS my home site – but in no way “control” what goes on here.

    I have seen comments elsewhere – such as LGF – that a perspective not my own – such as mike’s post here – is an indication of a “change in direction” or decline of some sort. I would have to respectfully but strongly disagree as the broader the range of opinions expressed here, the more of a true forum of opinion we truly become.

  • Eric Olsen

    Having defended the politically unregulated nature of Blogcritics above, I would now say that this post is clearly satirical and meant to be taken as such, is fairly successful in making its point, but, um, I disagree.

    I might as well write a post about it.

  • Tim Rice

    Eric Olsen said:

    – – I might as well write a post about it.

    Or, you could ask Pete Nelson to. Seriously, great response, Pete. Clear, concise, and you stuck to the facts without any vitriol or snottiness. If your post was the bar, the level of discourse in the blogosphere would be much raised.

  • Eric Olsen

    I have expressed my opinion on general and specific things here.

  • Yackums

    Natalie Davis is a pacifist who finds all violence immoral, and Pete Nelson admirably demonstrates that her position is tenable only in the theoretical realm. But in case his example didn’t resonate with Natalie I’d like to ask a few questions.

    Is it not violence to fight off, let alone kill, someone trying to kill, rape, or otherwise harm you? Would you consider such violence immoral? Would you then suggest that the only moral response in the face of such an attack is to lie down and take it and, if you’re still alive, shout “Thank you sir, may I have another?”

    Maybe your answer is yes, I don’t know…apparently the Left these days regard morality and self-interest as mutually exclusive, so maybe to you the suicide bomber is the poster child for morality as he makes the ultimate sacrifice for his cause…

    Follow your principles to their logical conclusion or you’ve lost all credibility.

  • Yackums (#22), can you read?

    I ask because Natalie has already stated (#14) that she “finds all violence immoral and Bush as much a terrorist as the suicide bombers.” (emphasis added) Does that sound like she considers them a poster child for morality? She also said, “Gandhi’s method is the only acceptable, moral method of resistance. I do wish the militant Palestinians would try it for a change.” So try to follow along, Yackums — the poster child for morality is Gandhi, not the idiot suicide bombers.

    Natalie and I disagree on this and other issues, but your argument fails what I call the third-grade test, in that I could find a home-schooled third grader that could rip it apart. You can disagree with Natalie, but please don’t presume that you speak from some position of moral superiority until you’ve spent some time observing her principles in action.

    And yes, I would somewhat like to hear Natalie’s reaction to your question which would be less provocatively stated as, “What is the proper moral reaction of a pacifist who is attacked by a rapist/murderer?”

  • *Quote*While I still think violence is a poor solution, I think now that sometimes it is the only solution. It’s a sad, but true, fact of the human condition. There are those that will not negotiate.*Quote*
    Don’t you think the palestinian terrorists and muslim suicide bombers also thought of that before they took the extreme step of killing themselves and choosing a life away from hteir families. Why do you people fail to look at the cause of all this terrorism. INEQUALITY!

  • Eric Olsen

    “Inequality” the cause of all terrorism? Perhaps like skin is the cause of all racism. Most people perceive themselves to be “unequal” most the time – only a small percentage resort to terrorism. Are we talking about equality of opportunity or equality of result? I believe mankind rather unsuccessfully attempted to ensure equality of result via communism, fascism, extreme religious fundamentalism, and various other totalitarian “isms.”

    I would say failure to take responsibility for their own failures is the “cause” of most terror, and suicide bombing is the result of a carefully shaped and managed environment of propaganda, social pressure and brainwashing that leads to exaltation in death and destruction. It is despicable beyond words.

  • jadester

    theoretical situation:
    The muslim faith has become the dominant dominant faith in all countries of the world except the usa. You live in the usa, and are a devout christian, however you can see that muslims are beginning to come to the usa and they appear to only stick together amongst themselves. You believe that should christianity be replaced by islam as the dominant faith in the usa, you will have to convert or face execution. Do you sit back and let it happen? or, when some random christian priest or minister says there is another option that allows you to fight back, would you take it?

    This may be a warped view of the situation, but then in countries where islam is the ruling faith it is most likely that the average citizen just doesn’t have access to more independent information than their oppressive government offers.
    hell, i don’t consider my (the uk) government, or even the us government, to be particularly oppressive when compared to countries with even less democracy than us, and yet i find it very difficult to get real information on for example why the terrorists become terrorists (by this i mean from their own mouths, in their own words, not “as guessed at by doctor Know It All” who probably can’t even speak the same language as the terrorists
    the real root cause of terrorism is ignorance, and it doesn’t help if both sides are happier to continue wallowing in it than actually learning the truth about each other. As long as neither side is prepared to take the first step to break the cycle, there will always be terrorism and so there will always be a need for a war on terrorism

  • “What is the proper moral reaction of a pacifist who is attacked by a rapist/murderer?”

    Having been in that position, I have the luxury of being able to speak from experience.

    No, the answer isn’t and wasn’t saying, “Thank you, may I have another.” (Unless it’s a bigot or Dubya Bush, and then, the answer is, “Thanks for making my point.”)

    Neither is it or was it to strike back with violence. I tried to escape, pushed the attacker away, and, on a couple of occasions, failed. (I am a rape survivor, was mugged once, and escaped an attempted robber during a frightening incident during college. Also, I once worked briefly in a video store — for extra Christmas/Chanukah money — and was robbed by a man with a gun; in that instance, I just handed over the money in the cash register. I also have been beaten a few times by pro-war types, once by a guy who socked me when he called me a dyke and I responded that I would pray for him, and a few times by violent people who don’t like articulate brown-colored people; in those instances, I classed them as “religious persecutors” and, as Jesus said, turned the other cheek).

    My beliefs allow this: I will try to escape. I will try to deflect blows. I will not hit back, though I will try to push an attacker away so as not to cause them injury (I do carry around a whistle and pepper spray and do use them when necessary). I will appeal verbally and loudly to whatever decency the attacker has. I will resist nonviolently. If one of my children is in harm’s way, I put myself in the child’s place and take the attack upon myself. (Their other parent — who is antiwar, but only a partial pacifist — does believe in hitting back if necessary. So don’t worry, my kids get an alternate view and they make their own decisions re: defending themselves [which they have done, having been victimized by youthful bigots and bullies], whether or not I approve.)

    That’s as far as I can go, will go, and have gone.

    Jesus permits self-defense and self-protection; he never said anything about lying down submissively, except in the case of “religious persecutors,” and I am all for that, so long as it is done nonviolently. My conscience will not permit me to do violence to another creature, and so far, I have lived up to it. God willing, I will continue to do so. But I do know this from expeience: I am not afraid to die for my beliefs.

    After all, “God may perhaps grant that [violent attackers] will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26 RSV)

    War, the devil’s most hideous snare, is always immoral.

    Flame away, if that makes anyone feel better or superior.

  • Dan

    First, I am a “pragmatic pacifist” who believes that violence is only acceptable as a last resort, and that it is an utterly horrible and mostly not effective way to attempt social change. So that’s where I’m coming from.

    Morally, there is a VAST difference between the attack on Afghanistan, which pretty certainly had a huge impact on Al-quada, had massive international support, and was a direct respons to 9/11, and Iraq. Iraq was a “preventive” war, with many weak justifications. That bastion of lefty thought, the CIA, reported that the Iraqi regime was not likely to help anti-american terrorists UNLESS they were attacked. (Of course, that ignores the payments to suicide bombers in Israel). Hussein was a secularist dictator who had started taking on some Islamist trappings, but was basically opposed to Al-quada. The only al-quada front in the country was running out of the US/Kurd controlled north.

    Blah blah blah blah.

    Basically, getting back to the original post:
    1) It doesn’t talk about Afghanistan. It talks about Iraq. The war in Iraq WAS a boon for al-quada. It may, just maybe, end up being a negative for al-quada if Iraq does become a democracy. But that hasn’t happened yet, so far it is a “recruiting tool” for Bin Ladin.

    2) If you track Bush’s polls, it is quite obvious that he gets a boost every time there is a war, a terrorist threat, or a terrorist attack. That’s natural, it’s not a conspiracy.

    So the post is fairly effective political satire making fun of those two situations.

  • Tim,

    Thanks for your kind comments.

    While I disagree with Natalie and others that all violence is immoral, I respect the idea. It has a long history among some Christian denominations (Quakers, Mennonites), and I respect those who are truly pacifists because of strongly held beliefs. I personally know people (relatives, in fact) that hold those beliefs (they are Mennonites), and they back them up by their actions.

    Whenever I encounter the pacifist argument these days, though, I think it’s important to understand why the person thinks as he or she does. Does it follow from long and/or deeply held (and fully reasoned) belief, or is it just a cover for hatred of America and American values, Bush-bashing, and the like? The former has my respect, and even my admiration; the latter most certainly does not.

    Also, thanks to Eric for answering the post on inequality being the cause of terrorism. The notion is obviously untrue. What does it even mean, to be “equal?” Physically equal? Clearly not possible. Intellectually equal? Also obviously not possible. Financially equal? I suspect that’s what most of those that clamor for equality really want, but I’ve never seen anyone propose a realistic and viable scheme for achieving it. In the U.S. we have encoded in our laws equality of opportunity (it’s imperfectly implemented, but that’s another problem). My personal belief is that equality of opportunity (as Eric pointed out) is much preferable to equality of result. Equality of result really isn’t possible, anyway.

    The true causes of terrorism are manifold. Inequality of opportunity plays a part, but so does religious fundamentalism, cultural values based on intolerance, hatred, and revenge, lack of empathy for other people, and so on. I don’t think it’s possible to say there is any one true cause of terrorism, since the motivations for terrorism are likely almost as numerous as the terrorists – but there are certainly some common issues among them. Some of the issues can be addressed, but others cannot. As I said before, there are those that will not negotiate. Trying to appease such people is not a solution to terrorism.

  • Thanks, Natalie. That is more or less what I expected, given your other posts and comments here, and I think it is a commendable position, though not one I share.

    One scenario that might still not have been covered in your answer is in how you respond to someone determined to cause harm to your children. That is, someone who would not be satisfied by hitting you instead of your children, but would consider hitting you only as a way to make sure you didn’t stop him from getting to your children.

    I recognize that this is verging on a rock-so-big-He-can’t-list-it silliness, but I don’t think it’s necessarily there, and would be curious about your response in that situation.

    So for your specific situation, let’s say that the other parent isn’t there — She’s gone to the store or something — and some unhinged person attacks you and your kids, claiming some imagined slight. For example, “your kids made fun of me when I fell down, and now I’m going to kill them.” I assume that you apologize and try to talk your way out of it, but this man is clearly unhinged and is having none of it. You are trapped in a dead-end alley, and nobody is within earshot to help you despite your loud entreaties, and he will not be satisfied until your children are dead.

    If you cannot reason, pacify, escape, or push the attacker away, then what? If I remember my Gandhi correctly — and it is highly possible that I do not — he said that someone committed to nonviolence must be truly committed and must therefore be willing to give up his life for the sake of the cause for which he is fighting.

    I’m talking about a scenario in which you do not choose the particular cause, but it is forced upon you. How do you respond?

  • jadester

    i am not an out-and-out pacifist, but i do believe in this day and age we shuld not have to resort to war. That said, i do not “bash” bush, i respect him more now than when he was initially elected, and whilst i doubt if i knew him personally i’d want to be friends with him, i do believe he is trying his best to look after the interest of the whole of the US. I don’t agree with all of his opinions, or the way he does everything, but i can appreciate at least he believes in his country.

  • jadester (#31), May God preserve us all from well-intentioned and earnest men.

  • Number one: I would never have my children in an alley.

    Number two: My children were taught not to tease people, and they do not.

    Number three: It is unkind to present someone with such a horrifying hypothetical. Just reading it sent me into tears, which got me into trouble with my boss.

    Number four: I, on principle and deeply held religious and moral values, could not react violently, even if my children’s lives — which are precious to me — were at risk. We are merely small cogs in a much bigger wheel, and I fully believe this life is but a waystation to the better, more important journey anyway.

    Number five: I pray we are never placed in a position where this happens every single day.

    Number six: I think I’m done with BC today. Much too upset.

  • Eric Olsen

    Nat, I didn’t get involved in this part of the discussion because I have heard you discuss this before and I believe I know your position, which you have kindly reiterated.

    I think Phillip was trying to get to the furthest possible extension of your beliefs because they are (unfortunately) so alien to this world. No one who knows you doubts your sincerity, seriousness, or consistency in applying your principles to your life, and I think he was just trying to fully comprehend them out to the final decimal.

    We will think only good thoughts about you and your children for the rest of the day to even out the karma, okay?

  • Let me add, Natalie, that I certainly meant no disrespect to you or to your beliefs. Since I am new to Blogcritics (I visited here for the first time yesterday, as a whim, from the link on Instapundit’s blog roll), I did not know what views you held. I did go to your blog and browsed through it, which gave me some idea of where you are coming from.

    As I said, I have relatives who are also pacifists, and while I disagree with them on some things, I still love and respect them. You seem to hold your pacifist beliefs with the same sort of conviction that my relatives do, and for that, I respect you. I hope you won’t take my disagreement with you on an issue with disrespect for you as a person. It is not intended that way.

  • Natalie, I’m very sorry for upsetting you. I hope that you are able to recover your day, and so I hope that you don’t read the rest of this comment until tomorrow, or maybe never.

    I also am deeply moved by your passionate response, and wish that I had the depth of your convictions. That you would cling to this principle of non-violence despite enormous cost is convicting to me. I do wonder how many ardent supporters of the “war on terror” would share that intensity and commit themselves personally to the fight overseas. Not that such commitment is required of all those expressing an opinion, but your passion does tend to reinforce your view.

    All of that said, be sure you’re feeling recovered and emotionally distant before reading why I spelled that out so specifically.

    One. The alley was simply a metaphor for “no escape.” It could as easily be any other area that doesn’t allow for running away, or you could be facing a large number of crazy people. I picked a single person and an alley because it is easier to imagine a single crazy person and an alley is somewhat well-known as a no-escape metaphor. Unfortunately, I was too effective in conveying that meaning in this case, but the general idea is “no escape.”

    Two. I presumed that your kids probably wouldn’t ever tease someone, which is why I called it an “imagined slight.” This fits the parallel as well. Perhaps your kids were laughing together at some joke, or recalling some pleasant memory, and the crazy stranger only imagined it was directed at his misfortune. Or perhaps the stranger is stark raving mad and has never even seen your kids before this moment. In one sense, it doesn’t matter, but in another, it is even better for the extended analogy that your kids are truly innocent in the situation.

    Five. That is the hope of all of us, I think. The issue is that some people truly feel that we are in that situation right now.

    The argument is that unhinged extremists who claim to represent Islam have attacked America, claiming some imagined slight. Reason and pacification will not work, since nothing less than either our deaths or our conversion to some crazy variation of Islam will satisfy these crazy people. We are trapped in an alley between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, with nowhere to escape. Our borders are too large for us to effectively push the attackers away – they slip through our metaphorical fingers. It is not a cause we have chosen, but one which has been forces upon us. Now what do we do when we cannot reason, pacify, escape or push?

    I understand that different people will argue each of those steps, suggesting that we might be able to more effectively reason with the extremists, or pacify them, or even gently push them away (I can’t see how “escape” is an option for America, really). All of those points can be debated later. What I’m really curious about is the scenario — call it hypothetical if you don’t believe Al Queda and other “Islamist” extremist groups fit the description — in which America has exhausted those four options and is left with what seems to be one choice: fight or die.

    Natalie, if you’re reading this (frankly, I hope not), you’ve committed to your path of nonviolence. While commendable, I personally think that the cost of your conviction is too high for me, and too high for this country as a whole.

    While it is difficult to imagine any one person becoming such a target of hate, even from a crazy person, it is clear that America is just such a target. Because of things we’ve done? Perhaps, perhaps not. Perhaps the crazy people of the world just need a target, and we’re the biggest target around. Stalkers fixate on celebrities far more often than non-famous folks, and America is a famous country.

    I’m sorry, Natalie, I do admire your passion and conviction, but I don’t think I can share them with you, not with the lives of my children at stake as I believe they may be.

    Thanks for responding to my questions, though, and I do hope you hold your kids tight and love them and appreciate them every day as I’m sure you do.

  • ken

    It is hard to believe that anyone can be that ignorant or amoral but your comment about using the Ghandi approach proves that it is possible.
    The “proof is in the pudding” sweets. If the “palestinians” tried it they would gain much, and live to enjoy the gains. If the Israeli’s (or any Chrisitan) tried it with the “palestinians” they would murdered faster than a jew at Treblinka.
    Ghandi succeded because he was dealing with civilized people and the “palestinians” ain’t!
    Your support or murder is appalling.

  • mike

    Ken: Do you mind? The statement that Palestinians are not a civilized people is not just “ignorant and amoral,” it is racist, like dismissing all Africans as depraved. The Palestinian leadership is certainly depraved (as is the Israeli leadership, in my view), but that is a separate issue.

  • Eric Olsen

    Quite a stir there, Mr. Mike, and you are right about leadership vs people, although I do not think it racist to address prevailing points of view for a given people.

  • Hey Ken, please don’t display the results of your rectal-cranial inversion in public. It brings shame to people who share your last name.

    Support for murder? Ignorant? Amoral? If this is what passes for coherent thought where you live, I mourn for the future of all of those who come into contact with you. I can only hope that you had a momentary lapse of reason and that you will re-read what Natalie has written and realize what foolish things you have said. Sadly, I fear otherwise.

    Your argument that a non-violent approach would work for the Palestinian cause but not for Israelis is probably true, with the caveat that I’m not as sure as you are that Prime Minister Sharon wouldn’t engage in a little genocide-lite(tm) if given the chance himself. But you would do well to provide some sort of argument beyond “so there” if you want anybody to listen to you.

  • I am feeling a little bit better now; thanks to all those who said nice things. All good karma is greatly appreciated.

    Returned home about 20 minutes ago and had a massive hug-fest with my thankfully compliant and compassionate oldest child (she’ll be 15 in a week). I gave her a vague outline of the discussion when she asked why I was so distraught. She listened, grimaced, and then laughed weakly, and said, “Don’t worry, Mom. If we were trapped like that, I’d kick the guy’s ass.”

    I responded with, “Chris!”, and she added, “But I wouldn’t kill him.”

    I had to laugh. Christiane is the second-feistiest pragmatic pacifist I know. (The first is the ball and chain.) She just left to do her community-service volunteer work (her decision, not mine). She’s a super kid; I’m blessed to have her and my son for whatever time God allows. And yeah, we hug a lot (well, David and I mostly; he’s only seven, so he still loves hugs from mom, and Christy is a sometimes prickly teen, but even she has her love-bug moments). What can I say? I adore my kids beyond reason. 🙂

    Phillip: I know you didn’t mean to upset me. No worries, but man, I am not Mike Dukakis running for president. I do understand why you went to that unspeakable place, though.

    “The issue is that some people truly feel that we are in that situation right now.”

    Oh, I know. I feel that way too, and have for many years, long before 9/11 took place. But then, whether they bomb Beirut or Tel Aviv or London or Oklahoma City or Baghdad, they’ve bombed my city and murdered my people. Whether they fire guns in Chechnya or drop bombs on Syrian aspirin factories or raid farms in Uganda or bulldoze homes in Palestinian territories, I feel the terror of my people there to the marrow of my bones. So I know this fear intimately; I have carried it for a long, long time. I am different from many US residents, who did not know this kind of fear until the Twin Towers fell.

    “Now what do we do when we cannot reason, pacify, escape or push?”

    We should do what we believe is morally just. We should do the right thing. No matter what the cost is. I understand that some feel killing can be moral; I vehemently disagree, but I know there are many whose values differ from mine. At the same time, I do not believe that your leaders are taking these actions because they are trying to “do the right thing.” I believe they are primarily out for their own interests, be they oil, world-domination schemes, greed, etc.

    I think a lot of the willingness to be violent is (and I am talking about people here, not politicians) about fear. People don’t want to be killed; they don’t want themselves or their loved ones to die. For many, the underlying motivation behind “let’s go nuke ’em” is the sense of “it’s kill or be killed.” They want to ensure their survival in a harsh and dangerous world. And I understand that; I certainly don’t wish to die anytime soon either. But I don’t put a high value on survival for survival’s sake. Again, I believe the next journey is the really important one. If my number’s up, it’s up. And when the time comes, I want my soul — which I value more than my physical self and more than any geographical or manmade construct — to be as pure as I can make it. Therefore, I want no blood on my hands — especially knowing, as I do, that there is absolutely nothing that would justify taking the life of any living creature. Nothing is worth the cost of tarnishing any human’s soul, IMO. Not survival in this world, and certainly not the survival of a nation.

    Ken, on Gandhianism and passive nonviolent resistance: “If the ‘palestinians’ tried it they would gain much, and live to enjoy the gains. If the Israeli’s (or any Chrisitan) tried it with the ‘palestinians’ they would murdered faster than a jew at Treblinka.”

    That may be true. But again, one does not do the moral, right thing only when it is assured that the action will result in success. One does what is moral and right no matter what. Otherwise, the morality is, in truth, hollow, worthless, and not truly moral. And that points again to my belief that physical survival is not the be-all and end-all.

    It’s kind of like civil disobedience: One does not engage in it unless one is prepared to suffer the consequences. Naturally, one hopes not to end up in the clink, but if you’re going to do CD, you can’t complain about having to pay fines or serve time. (That’s my message to the young “airline-security” tester, too, and to all of us who will take part in this weekend’s antiwar March on Washington and San Francisco.)

    And Ken, re: this vile comment — “Your support or [I assume you mean ‘of’] murder is appalling,” thanks for proving my point. You are in my prayers.

    Pete: “I hope you won’t take my disagreement with you on an issue with disrespect for you as a person.”

    I most certainly do not, sweetie. And backatcha.

  • BB


    “The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.”

    Eric, although we may be getting a little off topic I felt it important to comment on this. Technically, addressing the “prevailing points of view for a given people” may not necessarily be of malicious or racist intent, it nevertheless is riding a fine line that should be traversed with great care. Labeling a group of people with certain characteristics is dangerous. History has shown that a seemingly innocent belief about a certain people can quite easily cross the line and turn into hatred and racism. There are lots of whackos out there who would be quite happy to pick up the ball. I am no prude myself, but what I am saying is I agree with you to a point – but caution is the word.

    I wish also to qualify this by adding that I have every confidence in you as well as the rest of my fellow blog critics that we are above such things. Furthermore, something that is said in humor or satire is obvious to most of us that it should not be taken seriously, but unfortunately some people do not share our sense of humor and we should be mindful of this in our writings.

    And lastly, I wish to thank you all for welcoming me into the blog critics family. I am honored and hope that I can somehow make a small contribution to this talented ensemble.

  • My dear BB, you already have.

  • Eric Olsen

    BB, this is a very important point and you are right about crossing the line. I should have added that characteristics of a group should never be interpolated to individuals within that group. When formulating policy, however, it is only to the good to know those who you are dealing with as well as possible, including group mores, general attitudes and beliefs. I think the fine line is always generalizing from the group to the individual, an assumption that is never justified apart from specific knowledge of that individual.

  • jadester

    in my haste to reply i had missed
    “Now what do we do when we cannot reason…”
    i do not believe we have tried reasoning to any notable extent. how many of you have ever even talked to a muslim in person?
    one of my mates is a muslim, although by no means a strict muslim, but he is out-and-out british. i reckon the majority of the people living in Iran, for example, are just like you and me. They are, after all, “only” human. They may have different moral values, but in my experience if you respect someone else’s morals and beliefs and don’t humiliate them for it or try outright to tell them they’re wrong or stupid or something like that, you won’t have a problem.
    the whole issue of terrorism has arisen because people on both sides are scared of each other, but the only reason is because in all honesty they know nowhere near enough about each others’ cultures or religions.

  • Eric Olsen

    Jadester, I am very sympathetic with your perspective expressed here and think it is true of most people most places, EXCEPT for terrorists and other extremists. Travel DOES broaden and encourage understanding, I absolutely agree.

    There is a line that some people cross where others become something other than human, and for the most part people like this cannot be reasoned with, don’t see contact with the enemy as anything other than intelligence gathering. With them it really is kill or be killed. I, with deepest respect and admiration for sweet Natalie, vote KILL.

  • BB

    Although I am not muslim, I have lived in a muslim country for an extended time. I had an opportunity to make friends with a Superintendent of Police and I can assure everybody that he was just a human as any of us. Like us they love their kids and want the best for them and believe it or not – they also eat and go to the toilet. Unfortunately, where I have a problem is when religion gets mixed with politics. For example, in this particular country it is illegal for a muslim to convert or to be proslytized. I was let go from a journalist position merely because I had asked a question that I shouldn’t have. I was sitting in the lunch room with the editor and innocently asked a question about local politics of the day. His face suddenly went grave and he looked to the left and to the right and the conversation was abruptly ended! That was the last time that I saw him and I found myself unemployed. I heard through the grape vine that I was considered “dangerous”. I was even cautioned by people in my home for speaking my mind. Needless to say I kissed the ground when I returned home and I am thankful that I was born in a country that allows me to speak my mind.

  • Hats off to Mike Larkin! Good satire is hard to write and he has done a bang up job here.

    (Aside to Mike: Don’t let the Right Wing detractors get you down. I believe their carping is evidence your satire has hit home.)

    Frankly, I don’t believe we are much safer now than we were the day after 9/11. However, Bush cronies are a heck of a lot richer than they were that day. The bottom line is Saddam is NOT bin Laden and it is the latter who is the terrorist chief. The entire country of Iraq could be eliminated and without ending the threat of terrorism. Bin Laden is surely laughing up his sleeve at the U.S. wherever he is today.

  • mike

    Well, thank you very much, Mac, for your kind words.

  • Albatross

    Osama bin laden is a phony. Bush is a phony. Colin Powell and his buds have been behind this war and desert storm. Bush is the poster boy. Bin laden is the poster boy. but who’s behind him i can’t tell. It’s what is underneath the carpet. can’t you tell. the world is a sham. can’t you tell. open your eyes. there’s a cloak over everyone’s face. and it’s bigger than anyone imagined. it’s a bombshell can;t you tell. hehehhehe.

  • Eric Olsen

    Sounds like an ad for The Matrix Politicized. Who’s behind it all, the Elders of Zion? The Masons? The Saudis? I understand the desire to “explain it all,” but I think reality is both more complicated and simpler than most conspiracy theorists believe.

  • Eric: “I think reality is both more complicated and simpler than most conspiracy theorists believe.”

    Yep. And way more dangerous and insidious.

  • JR

    Lizards are behind it all.

  • I always thought Karl Rove needed a moisturizer.

  • Eric Olsen

    “The Lizard Puppet-Master” – I like that, combining the concepts of cold-blooded efficiency and unseen manipulation. Who’s writing the screenplay?

  • “I understand the desire to “explain it all,” but I think reality is both more complicated and simpler than most conspiracy theorists believe.”

    To give reality a head start, here are a few citations from Bob Woodward’s “Bush At War”. He’s hardly a conspiracy theorist, and in the real world, some things can be explained:

    p. 49: [this occurs on the day after 9/11/01] “Rumsfeld raised the question of Iraq. Why shouldn’t we go against Iraq, not just al Qaeda? … Rumsfeld was raising the possibility that they could take advantage of the opportunity offered by the terrorist attacks to go after Saddam immediately.”

    p. 60: [9/13/01] “Rumsfeld had raised Iraq during the previous day’s national security meetings with the president. Now Wolfowitz wanted to issue a public warning to terrorist states. It was another effort to prod the president to include Iraq in his first round of targets.”

    p. 84: [[9/15/01] “Wolfowitz expanded on his arguments about how war against Iraq would be easier than against Afghanistan…
    ” When the group reconvened, Rumsfeld asked, Is this the time to attack Iraq?”

    On the other hand, Colin Powell was against attacking Iraq (as were Cheney, Tenet and Card).

    It’s a book worth reading, whatever your perception of reality.

  • Hal, I agree that strategic concerns, for example the harshness of the terrain in Afghanistan and the U.S. alliance with Pakistan despite what is likely the opposition of a majority of Pakistanis, partly explains why Iraq was chosen as a target. But, let’s not underestimate the elder Bush’s rancor with being played a fool by Saddam, greed for Iraq’s assets and the relative ease of invading Iraq as explanations, too.

  • “I agree that strategic concerns, for example the harshness of the terrain in Afghanistan…”

    Nice slide, but you’re out 🙂

    Rumsfeld was ready to go to war against Iraq at least as early as 1998, as evidenced in the letter to the president he signed: http://www.iraqwatch.org/perspectives/rumsfeld-openletter.htm

    Note that other signatiories include Richard Perle, Elliott Abrans, Richard Armitage, John Bolton, Doug Feith and Zalmay Khalilzad, all of whom are part of the Administration, or in a position to “influence” both policy and action.

    It would be disingenuous to blame Afghanistan’s terrain for the invasion of Iraq.

  • Tell that to the Russians, Hal.

  • Oops, typo: that’s Elliott Abrams:

    In 1991, he pled guilty to two misdemeanor charges of withholding information from Congress about activities wit the Nicaraguan contras. President Bush (Senior) pardoned him in 1992. See the “Final report of the independent counsel for Iran/Contra matters.”

    He’s now in the White House under another Bush, hand-picked by Condoleeza Rice for the post of director of Middle Eastern affairs (National Security Council Middle East and North Africa portfolio).

  • “Tell that to the Russians, Hal.”

    Reminds me of the old joke about the drunk searching around under a lamp post on his hands and knees.

    A passerby asks him what he’s doing.

    The drunk says: “I dropped my keys in the parking lot.”

    Passerby: “So why are you looking for them over here?”

    Drunk: “The light’s better.”

  • Well, I assume by now everybody has left the class, so I can speak my mind silently and no one will cry, “Fire!”

    Ok, but what do I think?
    The problem is, I will know it only when I hear it with my own ears, so whispering won’t do.

    I’m ready! No one is here so what am I to be afraid of?

    So, Corinna, you seem to imagine you’re talking to the wall.

    Oh, may I digress?

    Of course, get it into your head, no one is listening.

    So here is the digression:

    Someone, (was it Bush? Bin Laden? Peres? Martin Luther King? Jesus? Moses.
    No, not Moses, he saw the place only from the top of that mountain).

    Anyway S/HE came to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem the Holiest, and asked the host, “What are all those people doing here?”

    “They’re praying. You may pray as well. Say your wish.”

    “God,” sad S/HE, “please grant the people much health.”

    A booming voice thundered: “Granted!”

    “God, oh God, Please kindly grant the people riches and happiness.”


    “God allmighty, do grant the people peace and no more wars, please do!”


    Then came the final answer:


    So, who were you people been talking to before you retired to look into your refrigerators?

    Oh, another digression. Hear this story: (Corinna! It’s turning into a post this semi-comment).

    (So what. No one is listening, why not have some fun).

    It’s past midnight in Tel Aviv…

    (Oh, forgot the story, you sidetracked me, C.)

    Here in the dark, I’m whistling. If I lose hope…

    Oh, now I remember:

    A few years ago I was on a train heading from Hamburg to Amsterdam. Two young couples were with me in the cabin, sitting opposite each other and leading a lively happy conversation.

    “What language are you speaking?”

    “Oh,” they tell me, “we talk Dutch and they talk German, but we understand each other perfectly well.”

    I remembered so well that such a conversation couldn’t even have been imagined fifty something years ago.

    I hold on to this memory and many similar others. Here in the darkness, if we lose hold of this ray of hope, evasive as it might seem nowadays, then what future an I entering?

    There are two major issues:

    1. What is the present reality?
    Grim, for sure, we all agree.

    2. Is it a constant?
    Here the opinions and attitudes differ.
    If I’ll get to consider it a constant, as some “realists” claim, then there is no choice but live as the Stone Age people.

    Whenever I talk to Anissah Darwish, the Palestinian poetess in Ramallah (and one of the participants in my book of conversations with international women writers on Childhood in times of upheaval, Once She Was a Child), she says,

    “Yah Corinna, I wish you knew Arabic and understood my words.”
    “I can feel them.”
    And she says, “Yes, I know you can and do.”

  • In response to:

    “C- at Brown University creative writing class. Go read Chomsky and listen to Saves the Day, you nonentity.”

    Dude, Saves The Day…? Cheesy emo rock if you ask me. They’re so 2002.

  • I’ve arrived late at this long procession of comments but followed it attentively and I just want to add, for Natalie Davis:

    Thank you for the most coherent, heartfelt, sincere and all-embracing defense of the pacifist/non-violent position that I have ever read (and that’s quite a lot). I wholly share your view but bow humbly to your far greater personal committment to it. It would be a privilege to be your friend.

  • mike

    30+ comments from the racist loons at littlegreenfootballs.com (http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=8611_Whats_Up_E) is a true compliment.

    Bullseye, you fuckers. Direct hit.

  • LGF was one of the first blogs I just completely gave up on. The hatred for Arabs and/or Muslims that dominated the site when I read it months ago was just too painful to expose myself to. I’m neither, but to see folks hating an entire population of people resonates for me anyway.

  • War is the Sole Hygiene of the World……

    Fillipo Tomaso Marientti

  • Good and bad satire both have something in common.

  • Eric Olsen

    A few things: I agree with Augustine about Natalie’s expression of pacifism, and I do very much consider her a friend.

    There is a fine line between criticism of the tenets of a religion, a broad generalization about the people of that religion, the interpolation of broad generalizations about the people of a religion to assumptions about individuals within that group, and racism.

    I don’t characterizations of religion as necessarily racism, though I decry any assumptions made about individuals based upon their belonging – in this case – to Islam. I do not think Charles – whom I like very much and consider a friend – is racist or even “religionist” (if there is such a word), and I understand how the tone of his site came to be: he reacted to the glib statements about Islam not being the issue or the problem, and of it being a “religion of peace” (per Bush) in the immediate wake of 9/11. He called bullshit on this assumption and I agree with him that Islam as practiced today by millions of adherents IS EXACTLY part of the problem, and that there are significant differences in the GENUINE Islamic doctrine (which I have studied in some great detail since 9/11) vs that of Christianity, to which it is most closely compared: Jesus was a defiantly non-political figure, Mohammed was a political leader and a warrior – this is not insignificant.

    But I also see that Charles’s many readers have extended a general contempt for Islam and Islamic people far beyond what Charles himself has done and this is a legitimate area of concern as well. The tone is often that of unmitigated loathing of things Islamic in the comments section.

    I am not sure what the answer is because I do not encourage Charles to censor his comments section any more than I want to have to censor Blogcritics, but I do share the concerns of those who see the general tone of his readers, as expressed in the LGF comments section, as reflecting anti-Islamic bigotry.

    This may be the moral equivalent of racism, but it is not the same thing as racism, and I reiterate, there is much to legitimately excoriate about Islamic culture. I will not back down from that assessment, nor apologize for it.

  • L. Coffey, it was F.T. Marinetti, in the Manifesto of Futurism:

    “We will glorify war—the world’s only hygiene—militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers, beautiful ideas worth dying for, and scorn for woman.”

    It’s not Satire, TDavid, nor meant to be.

  • Just a quick note to say I’ve included this entry in my Blogospherics
    at Mac-a-ro-nies.

    I would have sent an email, but couldn’t find an address.

  • u all r sick

  • Ashish INDIA