Saturday, June 02, 2007

Normanising imperialism

Don at What is Hip? lauds whacko rightard Norman Podhoretz, who spewed some of his usual dribblings at the Opinion Journal. But why do you say he's mad, says Don?

Well, this is why:

Although many persist in denying it, I continue to believe that what Sept 11, 2001, did was to plunge us headlong into nothing less than another world war.

Of course it did, Norman. The massed armed forces of Nazi Saudi Arabia invaded Poland and... hang on, no, it's not like that at all, is it?

A calmer observer might say that the situation now is rather like the seventies, when leftist groups carried out terrorist attacks across Europe. The difference being that we considered those as criminal acts, needing police action, not excuses for the invasion of other nations.

Like the Cold War, as the military historian Eliot Cohen was the first to recognize, the one we are now in has ideological roots, pitting us against Islamofascism,

You always know you're confronting a nutter when the word "Islamofascism" is dropped like a wet turd into the guy's writing. Osama is not, of course, a fascist, by anyone's standards. His ideal world would look very different from Hitler's, or even Mussolini's. He's not a nationalist as such, definitely not a corporatist and, if Norman had ever read the writings that inspired him, or his own writings, he'd know that Osama is not a fan of a heavily centralised state either, far from it. Indeed, the Islamist militancy grew as a response to authoritarian governments, particularly that in Egypt, and its chief complaint against the States is not, as the right likes to shriek, that it is too free, but that it is too keen on making imperialist interventions to plunder other people's wealth, often at the cost of their wellbeing.

Indeed, the Americans far more closely resemble fascists proper than do the Islamists. Reprehensible though they are, it's a mistake to conflate womenhating and religious intolerance with fascism; it is also a mistake to bundle the authoritarians in Iran and Saudi Arabia with the resistance in Palestine and the Islamist militants that loosely make up Al Qaeda, particularly given that some of these people hate others among them more even than they do the States.

Norman goes on to mutter that "Islamofascism" is
yet another mutation of the totalitarian disease we defeated first in the shape of Nazism and fascism and then in the shape of communism; it is global in scope

but this is utter nonsense. Do these people really think this rubbish or do they just write it to stir up hatred? It's obvious why rightards want to connect Osama with Hitler. WW2 is one of the few wars America has fought in which it had any claim to justice. The world appreciates the sacrifice Americans made to help rid us of Hitler (although it wasn't so grateful for the much larger sacrifice Russia made), and it has enormous kudos for it. So it's in the interest of the war party to try to paint the Islamists as a similar threat to Hitler. Were they to more accurately compare him with Baader and Meinhoff, they'd have a lot less sympathy for the "collateral damage" to uninvolved parties.

What follows from this way of looking at the last five years is that the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be understood if they are regarded as self-contained wars in their own right.

Of course they can be understood in that way, but that's the last thing the right wants. They have made strenuous efforts to paint the attack on Iraq as part of a bigger attack on "Islamofascism" because if it is not painted that way, it's revealed as an enormous act of piracy.

But there is no connection. Saddam and Al Qaeda were not linked in any way but being coreligionists. And only barely at that: Saddam was a secular leader, hated by the Islamists. They would have hanged him themselves given the chance. One reminds Norman that Hitler was nominally a Christian. Would that have justified an attack on other Christian countries under the notion that we were combatting "Christofascism"?

Norman goes on to claim that Iran is the "main sponsor" of terrorism. This simply isn't true. Were we discussing Israel alone, maybe you could claim that. But Iran has nothing to do with Islamist terror. It is involved with the fighting in Iraq but after all, Iraq is its neighbour, invaded it recently and houses a population with strong ties to Iran.

Norman says of Iran that:
Their first priority, as repeatedly and unequivocally announced by their president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is to "wipe Israel off the map"

Where do you start with rantings like this? First of all, Ahmadinejad did not say it was a priority or even an aim of Iran to "wipe Israel off the map". He said the regime in Israel would be consigned to the pages of history given time. He said it once, although he has expressed the same sentiment in different ways. And it is not "unequivocal" that he stated that that was Iran's "first priority": it is simply a lie.

But Ahmadinejad's ambitions are not confined to the destruction of Israel. He also wishes to dominate the greater Middle East, and thereby to control the oilfields of the region and the flow of oil out of it through the Persian Gulf.

In Norman's invented world in his head, this is what Ahmadinejad wants. But the truth is that Iran wants recognition of its status as a regional player. It didn't fight Iraq for hegemony over the Middle East. That's ridiculous. Iran promotes Shia interests, but that's to be expected. After all, Saudi Arabia does the opposite, and we don't mind that. What the right fears here is that Iran will contest our attempt to do precisely what he accuses it of.

Nor are Ahmadinejad's ambitions merely regional in scope. He has a larger dream of extending the power and influence of Islam throughout Europe, and this too he hopes to accomplish by playing on the fear that resistance to Iran would lead to a nuclear war.

We all have dreams, Norman.

More of this bullshit will just hurt too much to dissect. This is what rightists do: they do not "think" about how the world is and how America should act in it. They invent a fantasy that fits how America already is acting. The only question is whether arseholes like Podhoretz are crazy or vile: whether they believe this utter shite or whether they say it to justify the bad things they like their nation to do. Look, I can deal with a bit of honest-to-goodness imperialism. We can argue over whether it's a reasonable thing for a nation to exploit others to maintain its own wealth. But don't let's pretend that if we're doing that, we have some other moral purpose. This witter, aimed at normalising imperialism, should not be allowed to pass unchallenged, as it so often is, and it definitely should not be signed up to by decent people, or those who aspire to be considered decent at least.


At 7:13 am, Blogger President Ahmedinajad said...

READ THE FOLLOWING PASSAGES FROM THE BIBLE AS IT HAS IMPLICATIONS ON THE WAR AGAINST TERROR/ISLAM and the claim of Israel that god gave them the land. If the child is an infant than the Judeo-Christian version becomes null and void and we are wasting our time and resources i.e. we could save trillions of dollars and create a more peaceful world rather than fighting against Islam the religion of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).


Please note this is not a competition between faiths but an attempt to decipher fact from fiction.

Genesis 21:14 Contemporary English version se below link;&version=46;

Early the next morning Abraham gave Hagar an animal skin full of water and some bread. Then he put the boy on her shoulder and sent them away.

And Hagar bore Abram a son; and Abram called the name of his son, whom Hagar bore, Ish’mael. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ish’mael to Abram.

Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

At Genesis 22 Abraham had only 2 sons others came later. The Quran mentions that it was Ishmael that was sacrificed hence the reference in genesis 22:2 your only son can only mean someone has substituted Ishmael names for Isaac!!

NOT ROMAN NUMERALS (I, II, III,IV,V,VI,VII,VIII,IX,X) NB no concept of zero in roman numerals.

100 years old – 86 years old = 14 ADD 3 YEARS FOR ISSAC’S WEANING


Carefully read several times the above passage and then tell me the mental picture you get between the mother child interactions what is the age of the child. If the mental picture is that of a 17 year old child being carried on the shoulder of his mother, being physically placed in the bush, crying like a baby, mother having to give him water to drink, than the Islamic viewpoint is null and void. Why is there no verbal communications between mother and (17 YEAR OLD) child?

GENESIS: 21:14 - 21
So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the (17 YEAR OLD) child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beer-Sheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the (17 YEAR OLD) child under one of the bushes. Then she went, and sat down over against him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, “Let me not look upon the death of the (17 YEAR OLD) child.” And as she sat over against him, the (17 YEAR OLD) child lifted up his voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the (17 YEAR OLD) lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, “What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the (17 YEAR OLD) lad where he is. Arise, lift up the (17 YEAR OLD) lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the (17 YEAR OLD) lad a drink. And God was with the (17 YEAR OLD) lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother took a wife for him from the land of Egypt.

The age of Ishmael at this stage is crucial to the Abrahamic faiths. If he is 17 than the JUDEO/CHRISTIAN point of view about the Abrahamic covenant is correct. This has devastating theological consequences of unimaginable proportions.

This makes the conflict between Ishmael and Isaac and there descendants a work of fiction. I would strongly suggest it is clear cut case of racial discrimination and nothing to do with god almighty. The scribes have deliberately tried to make Isaac the only son and legitimate heir to the throne of Abraham??

Please can you rationally explain this anomaly?

I have asked many persons including my nephews and nieces - unbiased minds with no religious backgrounds but with reasonable command of the English language about this passage and they all agree that the child in the passage is an infant.

For background info on the future religion of mankind see the following websites:





HOLY QURAN CHAPTER 37 verses 101 - 122

101. So We gave him the good news of a boy ready to suffer and forbear.

102. Then, when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: "O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: Now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! Do as thou art commanded: thou will find me, if Allah so wills one practising Patience and Constancy!"

103. So when they had both submitted their wills (to Allah., and he had laid him prostrate on his forehead (for sacrifice),

104. We called out to him "O Abraham!

105. "Thou hast already fulfilled the vision!" - thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

106. For this was obviously a trial-

107. And We ransomed him with a momentous sacrifice:

108. And We left (this blessing) for him among generations (to come) in later times:

109. "Peace and salutation to Abraham!"

110. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

111. For he was one of our believing Servants.

112. And We gave him the good news of Isaac - a prophet,- one of the Righteous.

113. We blessed him and Isaac: but of their progeny are (some) that do right, and (some) that obviously do wrong, to their own souls.

114. Again (of old) We bestowed Our favour on Moses and Aaron,

115. And We delivered them and their people from (their) Great Calamity;

116. And We helped them, so they overcame (their troubles);

117. And We gave them the Book which helps to make things clear;

118. And We guided them to the Straight Way.

119. And We left (this blessing) for them among generations (to come) in later times:

120. "Peace and salutation to Moses and Aaron!"

121. Thus indeed do We reward those who do right.

122. For they were two of our believing Servants.

Therefore the claim that god gave the land to Israel is destroyed without the need of any WMD’s.

Volume 4, Book 55, Number 583:

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ishmael. She used a girdle so that she might hide her tracks from Sarah. Abraham brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka'ba under a tree on the spot of Zam-zam, at the highest place in the mosque. During those days there was nobody in Mecca, nor was there any water So he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward. Ishmael's mother followed him saying, "O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?" She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her Then she asked him, "Has Allah ordered you to do so?" He said, "Yes." She said, "Then He will not neglect us," and returned while Abraham proceeded onwards, and on reaching the Thaniya where they could not see him, he faced the Ka'ba, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayers:
'O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Kaba at Mecca) in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.' (14.37) Ishmael's mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water (she had).
When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She started looking at him (i.e. Ishmael) tossing in agony; She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody. Then she descended from Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the Marwa mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times."
The Prophet said, "This is the source of the tradition of the walking of people between them (i.e. Safa and Marwa). When she reached the Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, 'O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?" And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam-zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it."
The Prophet added, "May Allah bestow Mercy on Ishmael's mother! Had she let the Zam-zam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth." The Prophet further added, "Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her, 'Don't be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people.' The House (i.e. Kaba) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left. She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child, as they (i.e. the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Kada'. They landed in the lower part of Mecca where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said, 'This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.' They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water, and returned to inform them of the water. So, they all came (towards the water)." The Prophet added, "Ishmael's mother was sitting near the water. They asked her, 'Do you allow us to stay with you?" She replied, 'Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.' They agreed to that." The Prophet further said, "Ishmael's mother was pleased with the whole situation as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people. So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (i.e. Ishmael) grew up and learnt Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them.

At 7:38 am, Blogger Ruth said...

Excellent post Zen.

At 8:58 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

President, I have to say that I don't care whether Ishmael, Isaac or Muhammad himself were babies, 17 or anything in between. It's all bollocks. But thanks for commenting.

At 12:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All land claims are lies.

At 12:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if it's land claims in Israel, England, America, Antartica, or the moon.

All land claims are lies.

At 12:35 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The same applies to Cuba, Russia, China, India, Africa, Australia, etc..

All land claims are lies.

And all land owners are liars.

At 12:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're true enough. I guess you mean they're ill founded. I agree, but it's of no account, given that the consensus is that they are not.

At 12:59 pm, Anonymous $Zero said...

Concensus never changed a lie into the truth. And it never will.

At 1:03 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oftentimes, consensus creates truth, Zero. This is one of those times.

"Land claims are lies" can mean two things, I think: first, "land claims are not legitimate" and second, "land claims are not well founded". What is legitimate is decided by consensus. In this case, the second part simply doesn't affect that consensus, and is of no real account. You'll recall that I argued that it is true though, in re squirrels and peaches.

At 1:18 pm, Anonymous $Zero said...

i think you're trying to equate theft with lies.

an eaten peach is neither a lie nor a theft.

OTOH, a squirrel who claimed that the peach was legally its to eat would be a lie.

all land claims are lies.

but not all property is theft.

At 1:25 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't have it both ways.

At 1:36 pm, Anonymous $Zero said...

Oftentimes, consensus creates truth, Zero. This is one of those times.

Concensus only "creates" consensus.

100% out of 100% of the people "in charge" may agree that you are a seven-legged Martian squirrel staeling peachs from the rest of the galaxy, but that consensus will never make it so merely by agreeing that it's so.

And it is not at all ironic that what is true is not at all decided like the definition of ironic words in a dictionary are.

Concensus may attempt to avoid land related conflicts but concensus never changed a lie into the truth. And it never will.

All land claims are lies.

But the rationalizations otherwise are quite persuasive.

At 1:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, there is no fact of the matter in land claims, the way there is with squirrels. I may think there is a squirrel in my loungeroom, and you may think there is not, and we might agree that there is a fact of there being a squirrel or not. (We might not but let's assume we do.)

When discussing whether a claim to land is legitimate, clearly there is no fact of the matter -- without God, at least. There is no absolute truth to claims of this kind. You're far too fond of thinking that the truths of concepts are as solid as the truths of entities.

At 1:44 pm, Anonymous $Zero said...

You can't have it both ways.

point mine.

anyway, theft is not the same as lies. [*]

though they are often closely tied together.

[*] see my squirrel example above.

the squirrel did not steal the peach, but if it claimed that it had the legal right to it, it would be lying.

the existence of bogus legalities does not a liar create.

At 1:50 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sigh. Pointless to argue with someone who just can't get out of first gear, but here it is:

If land claims are a priori illegitimate, so are "legal rights" to any property.

At 1:59 pm, Anonymous $Zero said...

i never said that eating a peach had ANYTHING to do with legal rights (let alone consensus).

instead, i have always maintained that eating a peach was an example of property not being theft.

you, OTOH, have always claimed that a squirrel eating a peach on nearth was stealing it from the Martians, etc..


all land claims are lies.

all laws are lies.

the truth is the truth.

that's so far out of first gear that you can't even remember reading my bumper sticker anymore.

At 1:59 am, Blogger Don said...

You’ve not shown Norman to be mad. You’ve shown that his worldview differs from yours, and explained his worldview as based in cynicism and greed. Whether or not that’s true to any extent, he isn’t mad.

You’ve raised several points on which we both disagree with him. As I said, he only echoes my views at the strategic level. Bigger, in other words, than for example Ahmadenijad’s stupid-clever prods about Israel.

You wrote about someone as being mad, and said that what he, “fears here is that Iran will contest our attempt to do precisely what he accuses it of.” Here you assert that we would attempt to use nuclear threats and targeted assassinations to control in a very literal way the flow of oil, thus playing the global economy and the internal politics of many nations like puppets. As much as we’ve found it easier to support the Sauds, Mubaraks and Pahlevis of the region than to found some sort of stable “democracy”, our influence has been generally to keep the markets open. It is precisely the open market that best serves mankind, and that I at least would see preserved. You base your view on something else entirely. So if Norman is still mad, so are you.

This fear – paranoia if you prefer – that Iran is positioning itself to become a major player might not, I admit, reflect anything real. Iran might in fact be a stable and just champion of human rights and rational economics. Certainly many believed as much about Germany in 1938. But it wasn’t that long ago you yourself advocated the possibility of pre-empting Iran’s nuclear program with targeted strikes. Maybe you’ve changed your mind.

At 7:27 am, Blogger Don said...

By the way, regarding Israel and our friend Mahmoud, the "countdown to the destruction of Israel has begun, and we will soon witness the destruction of the Zionist regime." More internal fire-stoking, I suppose, but he knows he has a global audience.

At 7:56 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The open markets best serve mankind" is exactly the kind of madness we're talking about, Don.

And Don, you don't think it's madness to describe Iran, the resistance in Iraq, the Palestinian resistance and any and all other Muslims with a bee in their bonnet as a vast "Islamofascist" conspiracy because you share in the lunacy.

And dude, there's a huge difference between "hooray, Israel's going down" and "yeah, let's take Israel down". I know you rightards like to smear the line, but it's there.

Comparing Iran with Hitler's Germany is also mad. I'm not even going there. It's so dim, so lacking in insight into either 1938 Germany or 2007 Iran that it doesn't bear the least scrutiny.

And I still do support airstrikes against Iranian nuclear facilities if they closely approach having a nuclear weapon. I would prefer another way though, and I don't feel that there's any need for that to be anywhere near on the table just now. I would like to see all the nations of the Middle East agree to remain nuclear-free in their own interests. Sadly, one of them has already gone nuclear. We never hear any condemnation of that. I also remind you of this, Don: Ahmedinajad might posture and Iran might fund proxies, but he hasn't carried out an aggressive action against anyone at any time. When you talk about Hitler, you have to remind yourself who has been prosecuting a war of aggression against a sovereign state for these past few years, and who is threatening to do it again if not appeased. And just as Hitler scapegoated Jews, you rightards scapegoat Muslims.


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