Prague Twin

Monday, July 23, 2007

Why Do They Hate Us?

This is a question I've attempted to answer in the past. My good friends on the right cannot hear my arguments without considering me an America hater. Perhaps that is because my diction fails me.

Here, Moshin Hamid hits it on the head in a way that I could only dream of.

Here is a taste:

But there is another major reason for anti-Americanism: the accreted residue of many years of U.S. foreign policies. These policies are unknown to most Americans. They form only minor footnotes in U.S. history. But they are the chapter titles of the histories of other countries, where they have had enormous consequences.

[...]

The challenge that the United States faces today boils down to a choice. It can insist on its primacy as a superpower, or it can accept the universality of its values. If it chooses the former, it will heighten the resentment of foreigners and increase the likelihood of visiting disaster upon distant populations -- and vice versa. If it chooses the latter, it will discover something it appears to have forgotten: that the world is full of potential allies.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Labels:

52 Comments:

  • My country has indeed lost it's way. Okay not so much lost, but had it taken away by a president who simply has no heart and very little of a brain.

    I understand why so many dislike my country, I'm not real happy right now either. We have tried to push and shove the rest of the world around far too long. It's time for a long hard look in our mirror.

    The first step is learning once again to have respect for our fellow human beings, no matter who or where they are.

    By Blogger pissed off patricia, at 3:57 PM  

  • praguetwin, the article by the disingenuous muslim writer Moshin Hamid stated:

    "LONDON Recently, I found myself in Dallas, a place I'd never been before. As a Muslim writer, I felt about going there pretty much the way an American writer might have felt about heading to the tribal areas of Pakistan: nervous, with the distinct suspicion that the locals carried guns and weren't too fond of folks who look like me."

    No comparison. Lunacy. Pakistan is a country in which people's heads are cut off, where women are stoned to death for kissing and where people are harrassed for seeming insufficiently islamic.

    Dallas may have a few screwballs in its midst, but is a sick joke to suggest the realities of Dallas for a muslim are equal to the realities of wandering in the tribal regions of Pakistan.

    We have no TRIBES in this country except those that run casinos.

    He writes:

    "So I was surprised by the extraordinary hospitality I encountered on my trip."

    In other words, this muslim with considerable experience in the US -- from age 3 to 9 and then college at Princeton -- is still a believer in the muslim madness at heart. His attitude is proof that their widespread hate is irrational.

    He says:

    "And I still remember the politeness with which one elderly gentleman addressed me in a bookshop. He held a copy of my latest novel, "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," and examined the face on its cover, comparing it to mine. Then he said, nodding once as if to dip the brim of an imaginary hat: "So tell me, sir. Why do they hate us?""

    Hamid's answer raised the point of how little Americans know about the history and current issues in other countries.

    Apparently the author knows little about his native country. Like when and how it was formed. His amnesia is understandable. Pakistan is the result of the muslim/hindu divide in India, which included Pakistan until 1947, when India lopped off its western lands to form Pakistan.

    Not that giving muslims -- the official name of Pakistan is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan -- has led to peace. India and Pakistan are still at odds. Meanwhile, muslims, as always, have problems getting along with non-muslims. After years of internal strife, Pakistan sliced off a chunk of itself. That excised portion became Bangladesh.

    Meanwhile, though the author recalled the city of his youth (Lahore?) as a place where kids could play outside at all times, he seems to have forgotten that drinking the water was often a fatal mistake. The country is still plagued with death from water-borne illnesses that the corrupt government does little to prevent.

    When Rudyard Kipling wrote Kim, things were pretty much that way.

    As for the idyllic life he wants us to believe in, well, even today, life expectancy in Pakistan is about 63. He's also forgotten the names of his county's leaders. Pakistan elected a woman -- Benazir Bhutto -- to head the government in 1988, I think. She was booted from office less than two years later for stealing everything she could lay her hands on. The corrupt general mentioned by the writer replaced her.

    The country has been a cesspool since its creation, which occurred about a year before the founding of Israel.

    It disturbs the writer that Americans know so little about other lands. But it doesn't disturb him that his native land is a mess of its own making. Like every muslim who's ever discussed the question, he blames the US. Of course he attempts to soften the blame by adorning it with some praise for the US. But the praise is a ruse. He damns the country with faint praise and then damns it with harsh criticism. What a guy. Never once does he acknowledge that he came from a backwards country that owes all its problems to islam. No.

    If he were to suggest islam represented Pakistan's chief problem, he's probably read that he'd been made the object of a fatwa. He'd have to live in hiding like Salman Rushdie.

    Of course, he issued his criticisms of the US here, and no one will call for his head or pray for his death or take steps to kill him for what he said. But had he criticized Pakistan in corresponding terms, islamic leaders in every town would mark him for death. What a jerk he is!

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 9:23 PM  

  • ...the accreted residue of many years of U.S. foreign policies.

    I typically boil this down to: "Nobody likes being sh*t upon."

    By Blogger Kvatch, at 9:58 PM  

  • Patricia,

    Welcome. I would agree but add the caveat that we let ourselves be led this way.

    Your conclusion is at the crux of the truth.

    NS,

    I'm going to ignore the last two-thirds of your hate speach (which I will not read, you haven't earned my time) and address on point you made..

    Hamid's answer raised the point of how little Americans know about the history and current issues in other countries.

    Yes, it raised that point. But it also raised the deeper point about how unfathomable this hatred is for most Americans. And while hard to define and describe, if you don't understand it already, you probably never will.

    One last point from the first third (even though I promised not to), I think he was trying to get at what a person might FEEL and not the reality of the situation. Obviously you can't compare the tribal areas of Pakistan with Dallas TX. But if you have never been there, you might be surprised. Or perhaps it isn't so obvious since I've never been to the tribal areas of Pakistan. I might be surprised as well. Been there lately? Thats what I thought.

    My experience has been that where ever you are, if your heart is in the right place, you don't run into trouble. But in any case, lets just leave it to an "I don't know cuz I've never been there."

    And more importantly, I just met someone from Pakistan, and talking to him for a couple of hours completely changed my view of the country and its people.

    Try it sometime before you judge.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 12:48 AM  

  • Kvatch,

    A lot of people don't realize where their shit lands.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 12:49 AM  

  • What an insightful and heartfelt post. Thanks for the link.

    By Anonymous abi, at 1:40 AM  

  • That's a good point, that most Americans aren't aware of the history of our government's foreign adventures and the impact it's had on other peoples. This information is out there, but it's not publicized in newspaper headlines or history books.

    In regard to some of the other comments here, I've been to the tribal areas of Northern Pakistan. This was a long long time ago, before all the religious hatred started. I wouldn't dare go there now, but Pakistan and Afghanistan used to be really beautiful countries with friendly people.

    Who Hijacked Our Country

    By Blogger Tom Harper, at 2:12 AM  

  • It is hard to disagree that most Americans are unaware of the direct effects of our foreign policy, much less its unintended consequences.

    I have to concur w/ most of the facts that no_slappz cited although I think it is time to attempt a lucid discussion on the subject of Islam. Simply put, are the uncivilized practices to which no_slappz refers a result of Islam; a result of tribalism; or a result of an insidious cocktail caused by the combination of the two--kind a reverse spiritual martini.

    I tend to to think that it may be the latter although tribalism may be one of the great evils in the modern world.

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 7:19 PM  

  • With all due respect, I think it is extremely fashionable for them to hate us. Twisting ourselves into pretzels in a great hope to be liked is futile. They can say every evil thing about our government freely, when in their own countries saying the same things about their government could be dangerous. We provide an important outlet for anti-government sentiment.

    If they have contacts with America, they will often say yes, they hate the government, but the American people are warm and kind. In short, they are different from us, and in a Global World, the speed with which we must learn to deal with others who are different from ourselves stretches everyone, including both us and them. Look back to Old Europe and the great Protestant - Catholic divide and the wars it created, and somehow it all begins to make sense.

    By Blogger Publia, at 10:16 PM  

  • nice link PT.

    I notice that NS left out any mention of British colonization in his or her little assessment of Pakistan. Islam has been in that region since Mohamed was alive, I would put my money on the East India company fucking that region up more than anything. Unfortunately, when the colonizers left, they left their system in place.

    By Blogger Graeme, at 11:53 AM  

  • graeme,

    I do not pretend to be a scholar of Indian history. That said, following the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, the government of Great Britain assumed control of India from the East India Company and India became a Crown Coloy until its independence in 1947.

    India is now the largest democracy in the world. Of course it has problems and of course colonial rule was not without its injustices.

    Simply answer this question: Is India currently a better place now b/c of British rule than it otherwise might have been?

    If your answer to thjat question is no, then defend your answer.

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 5:10 PM  

  • Hate and prejudice stem from ignorance. "We" see something as "different", and rather than try to get to know and understand it, (whatever "it" might happen to be), we tend to back away and condemn "it", rather than try to see and understand the similarilities.

    In reading the article by Moshin Hamid, I can't help but to recall Scripture, when Jesus is telling of a person who had a demon expelled from him, and then when other demons saw that "the house" was swept clean - 7 others came to enter him, leaving the man worse off then he was before.

    American foreign policy, as was stated, is done with the best intentions. Can we do more, should we do more? Good question, I don't have that answer, but wonder - is it fair to blame Americans for trying to help in the first place? When the country doesn't do enough on it's own to help "stay clean". Perhaps we do need to do a little more hand holding after the initial clean up.

    I certainly won't claim to have the answer, especially when I don't claim to know all the questions - but I do know, that IF we study history - and LEARN FROM IT - we will all have the answers.

    By Anonymous diane, at 8:10 PM  

  • graeme wrote:

    "I notice that NS left out any mention of British colonization in his or her little assessment of Pakistan."

    In rating the forces on which the fate of the Indian subcontinent turned, the presence of the British was most benign. The insane muslims were and continue to be the malign force in the region. There's no mystery. The islamic religion is hostile to everything but itself.

    You wrote:

    "Islam has been in that region since Mohamed was alive..."

    Not true.

    You wrote:

    "...I would put my money on the East India company fucking that region up more than anything."

    Yeah. Only a nitwit who hasn't noticed that India is one of the world's most rapidly advancing economies, while next door, in the slum country of Pakistan, war lords are charging around the mountains on horseback looking for critics of islam, only a person like that would hold a corporate entity from the 1800s responsible for the slumminess of Pakistan.

    You wrote:

    "Unfortunately, when the colonizers left, they left their system in place."

    Yeah, the billion people in India who are gaining the benefits of that system are raging with anger, aren't they?

    Read the following on islam in India (which included Pakistan till the middle of the 20th century).
    --------------------------
    The religion of islam was established in Saudi Arabia in the early 600s. But most of islam's proselytizers came to India from non-Arab countries (It must be noted that Arab traders and travelers had arrived in India before islam was established in Arabia. Arabs probably had their own places of worship, which were later transformed into mosques.).

    The first proselytizers of islam began arriving in India during the 11th century . They came from Bukhara, Turkey, Iran, Yemen and Afghanistan. The most famous preacher of islam in India was Khwaja Chishti, who arrived from Iran and his sect is called Sufism.

    But the accepted assumption in India is that most of India's early muslims were converted to islam through the sword. Meaning Indians were given the option of death or adopting Islam.

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 9:53 PM  

  • None of us is going to be around when America becomes the "done-to" country by other countries with the best of intentions. What goes around does come around.

    By Anonymous abi, at 2:25 PM  

  • Sorry everyone for not updating the blog and responding to your very thoughtful and interesting comments.

    I am completely buried in my new job. I'll be back eventually.

    I have so much to write about and so little time.

    So, until then, please, talk amongst yourselves.

    Thanks,

    PT

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 10:42 PM  

  • Diane:

    "Hate and prejudice stem from ignorance."

    True, however, no all who hate "us" are ignorant.

    Many who hate us are middle class, like the 9/11 hijackers.

    Many Muslim extremists are middle and upper class.

    no_slappz concerns and opinions about radical Islam are well founded. Do not be deceived into thinking: "If we could just educate them about us, they wouldn't hate us."

    Look at the bios of the London bombers.

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 5:36 PM  

  • Loop,

    I agree, not everyone who hates us is ignorant - which is not quite the same thing as what I said.

    But I'm not putting in my 2 cents worth to argue over trivals either.

    And as far as radical Muslims go, I agree that educating them about "us Americans" won't matter much - because their minds are already made up, brainwashed into thinking that anyone who isn't Muslim is automatcially an enemy.

    But, I highly doubt that the majority of the Muslims in this country are radical "Qu'ran Thumpers" either.

    By Anonymous diane, at 5:53 AM  

  • Simply answer this question: Is India currently a better place now b/c of British rule than it otherwise might have been?

    No. India has a long history of literature (some of the oldest in the world), art and highly advanced civilizations (20 some languages in the region). They were and are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. What the Brits did is steal their technology. Any advances in India was done for the British population, not the natives. Some good probably slipped through, but this link shows that India was doing fine before. More famines occurred under the Brits, for all the supposed influx of western medicine- the mortality rate stayed roughly the same. The stuff built, like railroads, was built to ship resources out of India, not to improve Indians lives at all. India would be much better off today without the nasty rule of the Brits. The Brits on the other hand, would be still a backward, poor, violent country if it wouldn't have keep its tariffs high (so superior Eastern products couldn't compete with their own) and used its military might to ironically force "free trade" agreements (see Opium Wars)

    You wrote:

    "Islam has been in that region since Mohamed was alive..."

    Not true.


    Yes. According to
    wikipedia
    anyway.

    "Contrary to popular belief, Islam came to South Asia long before Muslim invasions of India. Islamic influence first came to be felt in the early 7th century with the advent of Arab traders. Trade relations between Arabia and the subcontinent are very ancient. Arab traders used to visit the Malabar region, which was a link between them and ports of South East Asia, to trade even before Islam had been established in Arabia. According to Historians Elliot and Dowson in their book The History of India as told by its own Historians, the first ship bearing Muslim travelers was seen on the Indian coast as early as 630 AD. H.G. Rawlinson, in his book: Ancient and Medieval History of India[3] claims the first Arab Muslims settled on the Indian coast in the last part of the 7th century AD. This fact is corroborated, by J. Sturrock in his South Kanara and Madras Districts Manuals,[4] and also by Haridas Bhattacharya in Cultural Heritage of India Vol. IV.[5]It was with the advent of Islam that the Arabs became a prominent cultural force in the world. The Arab merchants and traders became the carriers of the new religion and they propagated it wherever they went."

    As much as you would like to believe, Islam isn't the cause of all the world's problems. Muslims aren't blameless, but if you look at world history, it was the barbarians in Western Europe (and now its offshoots) that have screwed most everything up.

    By Blogger Graeme, at 11:42 AM  

  • here's a non-broken
    wikipedia
    link

    By Blogger Graeme, at 11:46 AM  

  • graeme writes:

    "No. India has a long history of literature (some of the oldest in the world), art and highly advanced civilizations (20 some languages in the region)."

    Yeah, I know. They had computers, airplanes, and even completed a lunar landing while the rest of the world was living in caves. It's irrelevant to discuss which society was more advanced in the 7th century. The only important factor is how they have progressed and the state of their existences today.

    You wrote:

    "What the Brits did is steal their technology. Any advances in India was done for the British population, not the natives."

    If you mean that the British made hay with Indian advances while the Indians themselves did little with their own intellectual achievements, well, so what.

    That's what the Japanese did relative to US technology for a couple of decades. It worked wonders for Japan, and they did it pretty much at our invitation. I think it's a good thing. As a result US manufacturers improved. Our cars are now hitting far higher quality standards than they hit 25 years ago.

    Meanwhile, the US is no slouch when it comes to improving on innovations or technology from other countries.

    You wrote:

    "...western medicine- the mortality rate stayed roughly the same."

    It's all about cleaining the water. That's a big deal today everywhere in the world. India depends on lots of foreign companies to clean its water.

    You wrote:

    "The stuff built, like railroads, was built to ship resources out of India, not to improve Indians lives at all."

    I see. Those trains only ran in one direction? Look, like oil in the ground under the moronic muslims, natural resources mean nothing if they are not brought to market. Countries that enjoy an excess of some resource that is not plentiful elsewhere have a COMPARATIVE ADVANTAGE when it comes to TRADE.

    If the Indians were underpaid for their resources, well, so what. Now they are getting full market value. Moreover, Indian workers have earned the respect of most people in the world. The educated Indians have a good reputation. Meanwhile no one really cares about the hundreds of millions sitting around in loin clothes looking like Gandhi.

    You wrote:

    "India would be much better off today without the nasty rule of the Brits."

    This is one of those idiotic claims that is insupportable. There are no facts to back this dopey assertion.

    You wrote:

    "The Brits on the other hand, would be still a backward, poor, violent country if it wouldn't have keep its tariffs high (so superior Eastern products couldn't compete with their own) and used its military might to ironically force "free trade" agreements (see Opium Wars)"

    Yeah, of course, Isaac Newton would not have been born in England. Neither would all the other scientists who changed the world. And of course, somehow Shakespeare would have been born elsewhere if he had had the option.

    You cited:

    "History of India as told by its own Historians, the first ship bearing Muslim travelers was seen on the Indian coast as early as 630 AD."

    This is probably of little value since muhammad suffered his schizophrenic periods that he claimed were his communions with his god from roughly 610 til he died in 632.

    IN other words, what difference does it make that some crackpot followers of a crackpot religion landed in India, a region filled with people already absorbed in their own crackpot religion?

    Frankly, Jews had pretty much touched down everywhere in the world centuries before muhammad had his first psychotic episode.

    You wrote:

    "As much as you would like to believe, Islam isn't the cause of all the world's problems."

    Because muslims are basically incompetent at everything, they are not much of a threat unless you happen to stumble over them on their land. Then they get the head-choppers out and perform their favorite surgery.

    However, now that these clowns have money that has found its way into their hands as a result of prosperity everywhere else in the world, they have begun to involve themselves in the personal business of non-muslims. This is their own doing, and their mistake.

    The only interest the west has for its presence in islamic countries regards the pumping of oil. The countries of the world BUY the oil at market rates and ship it to every market.

    The only other interest the west has in the middle east is the protection of Israel, the destruction of which is a burning desire for the idiot muslims.

    The moron palestinians have no other purpose in their lives but to pray for the destruction of Israel and to take action against the state. This is one of the stupidest national obsessions in world history. World-record stupid.

    Anyway, the muslims are the sole cause of ALL their problems, of which there are many. Of course, like the idiots they are, they blame every problem on forces outside islam. Why? Because they believe in the perfection of islam, which means they cannot be on the wrong side of things.

    It's this open-mindedness that leaves them stuck in their human sinkhole countries. Unfortunately, with oil money rolling in, Iran will soon enough BUY a nuclear weapon from some rogue nation like North Korea and -- I have no doubt -- fire it at Israel.

    Their willingness to conduct suicide bombings will go large-scale when they acquire a nuclear weapon. At that point, they will accept the losses that result from a counter-punch from Israel. But Iran will claim victory if its nuke kills a few million Israeli Jews, along with a number of Israeli muslims.

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 12:47 AM  

  • NS gets proven wrong and his/her answer is "so what."

    Then he or she calls different opinions idiotic and moronic.

    Market fundamentalism is dangerous stuff. Indifference, and downright hate, like this kills. It does so with impunity and a lot of times makes a good profit. People like NS scare me more than some cave dwellers in Pakistan (which, btw, has some places you don't want to go, just like NYC, but for the most part is perfectly safe for Westerners).

    By Blogger Graeme, at 2:10 AM  

  • Ah yes Graeme,

    You have really hit the points well. What strikes me most clearly is that NS spends pages digging himself a hole, and you points take but a few paragraphs.

    NS,

    You have shown your hate and ignorance more clearly here than I have ever seen. One thing you should consider is that those who profess to know at least go through the exercise of citing sources.

    What they don't do is simply call everyone with whom they disagree with "morons" or "idiotic". You've called me names on several occasions, and I've bit a couple of times, but never again. As much as I'd like to, I just say you behave in a very naive manner: like an adolescent really.

    I hope you are long on the market, way long. But I'll bet that your duplicity and self interest have you neutral or even a bit short.

    Am I wrong?

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 3:18 AM  

  • graeme, you wrote:

    "NS gets proven wrong and his/her answer is "so what.""

    What incorrect statement did I make?

    YOu wrote:

    "Then he or she calls different opinions idiotic and moronic."

    The points you cited about the relative advancement of India over 1,000 years ago mean nothing. Does anyone care what the American Injuns were doing a thousand years ago? No, unless it is their business to study American Injuns.

    Their presence here had virtually no effect of the march from the first settlements of this country to its current state.

    You wrote:

    "Market fundamentalism is dangerous stuff."

    What the heck is "market fundamentalism"? Does that have some connection to the stock market, which, by the way, is a growing factor in the Indian economy.

    You wrote:

    "Indifference, and downright hate, like this kills."

    Yes, I know. My former workplace -- Tower One of the World Trade Center -- fell as a result of that "downright hate" that you mentioned. It is implicit in your comments that you believe it is the west that is at fault in the confrontation between islam and the non-islamic world. Sorry, you're wrong.

    You wrote:

    "It does so with impunity and a lot of times makes a good profit."

    Yeah, lots of money was made when the Hutus hacked up 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda back in the previous decade. Big payday for all.

    Are you one of those delusional people who believes that the dictators, despots and tyrannies of this world don't kill people wantonly until the US shows up?

    You wrote:

    "People like NS scare me more than some cave dwellers in Pakistan (which, btw, has some places you don't want to go, just like NYC, but for the most part is perfectly safe for Westerners)."

    Typical comment from someone incapable of risk assessment. Having been through muslim North Africa, I can tell you there's plenty of hostility toward westerners openly displayed.

    I'm not terribly concerned about the act of flag burning, but it takes on greater significance when crackpot muslims burn the US flag for the TV cameras.

    Have you ever seen Americans burn the flag of another country? Even with all the uproar over illegal aliens swarming in from Mexico, do Americans burn the Mexican flag in protest? No. In fact, Mexicans fly the flag of their homeland here. I don't approve, but I wouldn't bother with them.

    Try flying the American flag in Pakistan while calling Mushariff a moron for harboring bin laden. That might take the fun out of a family vacation to Lahore.

    But anyone can stand in Times Square, burn the flag, call Bush an idiot, attract a crowd, get interviewed by reporters and then have his/her photograph taken with the Naked Cowboy. You really need to wake up to the difference between primitive tribalism, islamic madness, and living a free country.

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 4:57 AM  

  • praguetwin, you wrote:

    "I hope you are long on the market, way long."

    Why? Are you making a prediction on a major market move?

    You wrote:

    "But I'll bet that your duplicity and self interest have you neutral or even a bit short."

    I'll take your bet.

    On a related note. There is no such thing as duplicity in the market. An investor is in or out, long or short. There's no duplicity possible. Unless you mean lying about your position. But that has no meaning since lying doesn't change the financial results.

    And there is nothing other than self-interest that drives market decisions. Therefore, I don't have any idea what you are saying. Are you sure you know what you're saying?

    You asked:

    "Am I wrong?"

    Frequently.

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 5:05 AM  

  • praguetwin, you wrote:

    "One thing you should consider is that those who profess to know at least go through the exercise of citing sources."

    It didn't strike me that the separation of Pakistan from India was such an obscure event that it needed a footnote or a source.

    The muslims, as always, wanted their own religious colony. Thus, those who weren't already living in the region that became Pakistan moved there after the two countries separated.

    However, not all of them left. India today is about 12% muslim, which adds up to about around 150 million muslims in the country. Meanwhile, the population of Pakistan is about 165 million -- muslims.

    Care to take any bets on which religious segment of India's population is moving faster and which is moving slower?

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 5:18 AM  

  • What incorrect statement did I make?

    "Islam has been in that region since Mohamed was alive..."

    Not true.

    That "not true" was indeed true. According to the same link: "The first Indian mosque was built in 629 A.D, at the behest of Cheraman Perumal, during the life time of Muhammad (c. 571 – 632) in Kodungallur by Malik Bin Deenar."

    The points you cited about the relative advancement of India over 1,000 years ago mean nothing. Does anyone care what the American Injuns were doing a thousand years ago? No, unless it is their business to study American Injuns.

    Indians, just like Native Americans, got along fine. It seems your standard of success is destroying indigenous culture. And who says the word "injun," what are you general Custer or something?

    What the heck is "market fundamentalism"? Does that have some connection to the stock market, which, by the way, is a growing factor in the Indian economy.

    It is a fundamentalist view of the "market." You know you are in trouble when people and the environment become externalities.


    Yes, I know. My former workplace -- Tower One of the World Trade Center -- fell as a result of that "downright hate" that you mentioned. It is implicit in your comments that you believe it is the west that is at fault in the confrontation between islam and the non-islamic world. Sorry, you're wrong.

    So far, well over one hundred thousand Iraqis have died in our war of choice.

    Yeah, lots of money was made when the Hutus hacked up 800,000 Tutsis in Rwanda back in the previous decade. Big payday for all.

    Huh? You must mean like how the U.S. killed some 3 to 5 million Asians when it decided to invade South Vietnam.

    Typical comment from someone incapable of risk assessment. Having been through muslim North Africa, I can tell you there's plenty of hostility toward westerners openly displayed.

    Good for you! I am not being sarcastic. I am glad you have traveled about (I am guessing military or business). Please give an example of western hostility. I went to London last May/June and saw plenty of 'western hostility.'

    By Blogger Graeme, at 8:41 AM  

  • NS,

    If only the only point you made was that India and Pakistan split in '47. You might want to re-read some of your comments. You've made many others that could benefit from some cited source or at least explanation. Just because you say something is true (or "not true") doesn't make it so.

    I didn't accuse you of market duplicity, but personal. While you have consistently harped on me (and others) because of a bearish view, I'm guessing you don't have your money where your mouth is at this point.

    When I asked if I was wrong, it was with regards to that point, not any other.

    And finally, I find it so ironic that you cite Islamic hate for the west as the key issue while you clearly harbor equal amounts of hate for, well, everyone.

    You ever hear that Michael Jackson song "Man in Mirror?" I'm not a fan, but you should listen to it.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 12:01 PM  

  • graeme, you wrote:

    "That "not true" was indeed true. According to the same link: "The first Indian mosque was built in 629 A.D, at the behest of Cheraman Perumal, during the life time of Muhammad"

    Wowie. One mosque on a land so large it is referred to as a sub-continent. Even if this claim is true, it means little. It's a historical footnote. What matters is that islam did eventually grow rapidly and that the muslims wanted their own land because, among other issues, they want to associate only with other muslims.

    You wrote:

    "Indians, just like Native Americans, got along fine. It seems your standard of success is destroying indigenous culture."

    Oh sure. Indians all over the world enjoyed a paradise on here on Earth. The Indian subcontinent was a cesspool of disease. Contracting cholera was a common death sentence.

    A visit to that part of the world today is disturbing to anyone who keeps an eye out for people with birth defects. They abound. Cleft palates are everywhere. Meanwhile, death from water-borne diseases is an everyday experience in that part of the world.

    However, you seem to think these dumps are like Colonial Williamsburg, like these countries are museums populated by quaint people who wear the traditional clothing of yesteryear while, in their off-hours, they enjoy all the benefits of the modern world.

    You wrote:

    "So far, well over one hundred thousand Iraqis have died in our war of choice."

    I see. Your figure for civilian deaths in Iraq is a popular one among those who like to spout the highest possible number. Of you should admit that whatever the number is, it is largely the result of muslims in Iraq killing their fellow muslims. The US military certainly kills a some civilians, but it doesn't TARGET civilians. It targets the ENEMY.

    On the other hand, the moron muslims believe in terrorist tactics. They kill each other with complete abandon. Don't let it trouble you. They do it all the time. The death toll in the Iran/Iraq War was estimated at One Million.

    You wrote:

    "Huh? You must mean like how the U.S. killed some 3 to 5 million Asians when it decided to invade South Vietnam."

    It's obvious from the completely uninformed character of your comment, that you know nothing about the Vietnam War.

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 4:50 AM  

  • praguetwin, you wrote:

    "I didn't accuse you of market duplicity, but personal."

    Can you define "market duplicity" and "personal duplicity"?

    You wrote:

    "While you have consistently harped on me (and others) because of a bearish view,..."

    I challenged your thinking. If that bothers you, don't get a job in which you have to take a stand and defend it against people who make it their business to punch holes in the positions of others. This is everyday stuff on Wall Street.

    You wrote:

    "I'm guessing you don't have your money where your mouth is at this point."

    Yesterday you wanted to "bet" that my true position was the opposite of my stated position. Today you admit you are only "guessing".

    In other words, you're not resolute in your position. You shouldn't be so wishy-washy. If you're completely wrong, the sky will not fall.

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 4:58 AM  

  • Sorry to have been away gentlemen but bad ju-ju infected my computer. It has now been exorcised.

    I think we can keep the discussion civil.

    Graeme: If you fail to recognize that the British colonial infrastructure--physical and political-- was not a major contributing factor to India becoming a modern nation, you are simply ignoring the facts.

    No one, least of all YT, ever suggested that British colonial rule in India was not for the benefits of the Brits. No one, including YT, ever suggested that India did not have an ancient and rich indigenous culture.

    But let me ask you this. Would India be the world's most populous democracy but for the Brits? If your answer is no, please be prepared to defend the following propositions: That democracy would have sprung up sua sponte w/o the Brits; and that democracy is unnecessary for prosperity in India. If democracy would not have sprung up sua sponte, please identify the form of government that would most likely be in situ in India.

    Cheers.

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 6:11 PM  

  • I've said it before elswhere, but it bares repeating: No_Slappz=clownshoes

    By Blogger Frederick, at 8:12 PM  

  • Duplicity is what it is. I've only coined the terms to try and clarify. Duplicity is saying one thing and doing another, for example.

    My market view is neutral for now, and I imagine it will be negative by the end of the year.

    No credit crunch yet.... yet.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 8:45 PM  

  • Would India be the world's most populous democracy but for the Brits?

    Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. Before the Brits invaded, India was a modern country. Industry was booming. They had prosperity. I am sure they had issues on how that prosperity was divided, but they, being humans with fully functioning minds, they could've at least attempted to work them out.

    The Eurocentric view of the Brits bringing the savage Indians democracy, whether they did intentionally or not, is ignoring much bigger issues.

    First off, who gave them the "right" to give the Indians their verison of democracy? It is a silly notion. The Brits came to India to steal technology and wealth and they left India the very form of government that allowed the Indians technology and wealth to be ripped off. So maybe India can become a super power and colonize some other country. Is that good?

    In this great democracy so graciously given to the Indians, thousands upon thousands of Indian farmers have been killing themselves because Western "technology" and that wonderful system of prosperity won't allow them to farm the way they have been doing for thousands of years.

    I am no expert on India, but neither were the Brits. Unlike the Brits, however, I plan on letting them govern themselves. (cause hey, who knows India's problems more than Indians?)

    By Blogger Graeme, at 7:40 AM  

  • praguetwin, you wrote:

    "Duplicity is what it is. I've only coined the terms to try and clarify. Duplicity is saying one thing and doing another, for example."

    We are communicating anonymously on a message board. That means we possess NO credibility. We can make any claim about ourselves because our comments are unverifiable.

    Your conclusions about me reflect only what you believe you know about me based on your interpretations of comments I've made here. That's a pretty flimsy basis for your broad-based psychological assessments of me.

    You wrote:

    "My market view is neutral for now, and I imagine it will be negative by the end of the year."

    The stock market is a barometer of the future. Not the present.

    To say that you are neutral now but you expect to turn negative by the end of the year means you are following, rather than leading in your thinking. You should check your own predictions for confirmation.

    I believe that not long ago you suggested -- not predicted -- that the Dow was headed below 12,000. Instead, it went to 14,000. Last week it retreated to 13,XXX whatever. Now you are neutral. However, you feel you will go negative if, in your view, market conditions worsen. I don't know your basis for defining "worsening market conditions", however.

    Anyway, in consideration of your comments here, your market view is founded on "adaptive expectations".

    That approach more-or-less says a person changes his position when the direction of market winds changes. It's driven by the present, not the future.

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 4:00 PM  

  • graeme,

    W/ all due respect, is it the climate in Fargo that has ruined your mind or is there another cause. Lesson # 1: When considering history, do not analyze the acts and omissions of people from your moral perspective, You can only analyze it from the perspective of the people involved.

    Who gave the Brits the "right" in India. Might made right. See that is what happens in history. It may not be "morally right" from your perspective but empirically, that is what occurs, is occurring, and wil occur.

    You are correct that you are no expert on India. The reason why people aren't starving there toady, as they did for thousands of years, is a guy named Norman Borlaug. Maybe you could read up on him.

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 5:55 PM  

  • graeme, do yourself a favor and look into the "caste system" in India.

    Then look into the problems of mass starvation that have been a fact of life there forever.

    Also, check into the disease problems.

    Further, investigate the problems that exist in India as a result of the divide between muslims and hindus. I hope it won't shock you to discover that muslims have problems in India just as they do everywhere else in the world.

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 6:26 PM  

  • Who gave the Brits the "right" in India. Might made right. See that is what happens in history. It may not be "morally right" from your perspective but empirically, that is what occurs, is occurring, and wil occur.

    only with that kind of attitude

    By Blogger Graeme, at 11:38 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Graeme, at 12:08 PM  

  • graeme, do yourself a favor and look into the "caste system" in India.

    The caste system is purely Indian and horrible.

    Then look into the problems of mass starvation that have been a fact of life there forever.


    As far as starvation, they certainly had starvation, a lot of it during the British occupation and quite a bit after the Brits left their legacy, not so much in the 2000 years before. According to author Mike Davis (in the link on my second comment, he wrote Planet of slums a somewhat popular book) there were 31 serious famines in 120 years of British rule compared to 17 in the 2000 years before British rule.

    Amartya Sen's data shows (as pointed out by
    Chomsky) that more Indians slowly starved to death under the government their British overlords left them with then did under Mao's "Great Leap Forward." In fact, under "democratic capitalism" left by the brits, more Indians starved then all the deaths attributed to what is commonly referred to as "communism."

    Of course, according to you both, the stupid Indians needed some super smart westerners to teach them how to be civilized (in other words,the rich getting richer and the poor slowly, starving to death). Such nonsense, it reminds me of when the U.S. government, under the Dawes act, tried to get those pesky "injuns" (as NS says) to become true americans and quit their communal ways. They tried to break up tribal land into individual land and "teach" the Native Americans how to farm. talk about not knowing your history

    12:08 PM
    Delete

    By Blogger Graeme, at 12:10 PM  


  • this
    link is about the Sen India/China data.

    By Blogger Graeme, at 12:17 PM  

  • Graeme,

    You still don't get it. What happened, happened. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. Nor can you judge the people who squeezed the tube from your moral perspective.

    The Brits left a legacy that gave India a leg up into the modern world.

    No one is saying colonial rule in India was all sunlight and roses. You seem to be saying that but for the nasty colonialists, all in Indoia would have been sunlight and roses includingthe mass starvation; the caste system; and sectarian conflict.

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 5:39 PM  

  • graeme, you wrote:

    "The caste system is purely Indian and horrible."

    Pakistan was part of India till rather recently. For centuries the people who lived on the land that is now Pakistan lived under the caste system.

    Now the Pakistanis live under a muslim system brings misery to all.

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 6:53 PM  

  • Loop,

    I think what Graeme may be saying (and I agree) is that colonialism was and is wrong. No, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, but you don't really know what would have happened if no one squeezed it out either.

    Plenty of countries with backwards systems in the past have pulled themselves out of it without "help" from the west.

    Yes, the caste system is miserable, but if you think it is over, think again. So even here, the Brits haven't helped much.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:05 PM  

  • NS,

    What part of "neutral" don't you understand? I expect things to chog along between 12K and 14K for the next few months or maybe even until the end of the year, but making DNT predictions in this volatile market is insane, so this is only for clarification.

    I expect that as credit fears become reality, the market will really start to suffer, but if I knew when this was going to happen, I wouldn't have to work. Q1 or Q2 of 08? Good a guess as any I figure.

    The idea that subprime fallout will stay contained is ridiculous. Since most of that "toxic waste" has been chopped into tranches and re-sold (and incidentally no one even knows who is holding it by and large) the idea that it can somehow stay contained is ludicrous. There is no free lunch, and the same principles (spreading of risk) that helped this rally will eventually bring the whole thing back down to earth. As the subprime issue starts to spread, the feedback will continue to circle, increase, and affect everyone.

    When that will happen is anyone's guess. And besides, I'm just some know nothing kid who follows markets as a hobby. YOURE the expert.

    That means we possess NO credibility.

    Speak for yourself. I may not always be correct, but I'm always honest.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:12 PM  

  • praguetwin, in response to my comment:

    "That means we possess NO credibility."

    you wrote:

    "Speak for yourself. I may not always be correct, but I'm always honest."

    Credibility has nothing to do with honesty. When you advance an OPINION about the future, your words on the page can be taken at face value. A PREDICTION stands on its own.

    But, with respect to matters of personal fact, like whether an investor is long or short, well since we are all anonymous, we have no reason to believe the statements of others are facts. They cannot be verified. Therefore, we have no credibility.

    You wrote:

    "The idea that subprime fallout will stay contained is ridiculous."

    Why? It really doesn't mean a thing to the housing market that a few hedge funds blew up.

    You wrote:

    "Since most of that "toxic waste" has been chopped into tranches and re-sold (and incidentally no one even knows who is holding it by and large) the idea that it can somehow stay contained is ludicrous."

    Again, what's the big deal? The investors who hold the faltering mortgages are not the banks or mortgage underwriters who originated them.

    You wrote:

    "There is no free lunch, and the same principles (spreading of risk) that helped this rally will eventually bring the whole thing back down to earth."

    Why should credit problems among some high-risk home-buyers harm the entire stock market? Fear may cause some panic selling. But Panic-selling is always followed by panic buying. The houses on which the sub-prime mortgages were written are still standing. There's every reason to expect new buyers to buy those properties at prices that at least match the face-value of the defaulted mortgage. The buyers might be induced to take over the existing mortgages.

    In any case, bargain-hunters are on the scene but the Wall Street Journal hasn't sniffed their trails. But when they do, you will see stories on the intrepid buyers scooping up these properties.

    You wrote:

    "As the subprime issue starts to spread, the feedback will continue to circle, increase, and affect everyone."

    How? The worst-case scenario is one in which the prices of houses in some neighborhoods drop because lots of people with sub-prime loans are concentrated in lesser neighborhoods. If that happens, new buyers will emerge. The properties will remain productive, but some losses will be incurred by lenders and borrowers. This is not news, and it is surely not a catastrophe for the country or the market.

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 2:39 AM  

  • PT,

    All I am saying is that colonialism is wrong from our current perspective.

    It was a right as rain from the perspective of the people who were practicing it until 60 years ago.

    It is just silly to say, "Colonial-ism was wrong." It had existed for thousands of years.

    You cannot sit back from what now feels like a PC and moral position and say,"History was wrong."

    History isn't right or wrong. Putting a spin on it is almost always wrong but that tends to be a perquisite of the winners.

    Go to clean-fun.blogspot and check out continuing conversations between YT and the blogger Mohamed. Check out recent cogent comments by Emilie.

    The short version is that Mohamed, apparently a student of the law, attempts argument after argument that the state of Israel is illegal.

    I try and point out that so is the United States, the colonies having rebelled against their lawful king.

    Put a spin on history and the only person you fool is yourself. Fail to study history and you may wind up invading Iraq.

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 6:07 AM  

  • I appreciate civil discussion Loop, but you are right, I don't get your point. Whatever horrific acts happened in the past aren't worth commenting on because people didn't think they were horrific back then? that is absurd.

    I don't think that it isn't rewriting history to point out that you think something is wrong. There were Brits that were outraged by colonialism when it was happening, should they have caved in to thinking that was the norm? How about abolitionists? Should they have adopted a more accepted stance?

    History isn't wrong, although people often are. There were people all throughout history fighting and arguing against enslavement, hate and other forms of injustice. I am not looking at acts such as colonialism from a present moral view at all.

    By Blogger Graeme, at 9:43 AM  

  • NS,

    We will see.

    Loop,

    So since it was 60 years ago, we shouldn't judge Hitler? Is that what you are saying?

    Come on man. Weak argument.

    It is those who don't study history or do but fail to learn from it that end up invading Iraq.

    All,

    See you on Saturday.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 9:47 AM  

  • graeme, you wrote:

    "There were Brits that were outraged by colonialism when it was happening, should they have caved in to thinking that was the norm?"

    Do you ever wonder what is within blacks that much of the continent of Africa was 2,000 years behind Europe when the colonists arrived?

    Is it not stunning that in a rapidly advancing world that had already passed through the Renaissance that an entire continent of people were living in primitive tribes?

    If you found a tribal continent today, populated by people who were dying of horrible diseases we could easily cure or prevent, would you feel we had a moral duty to stop the needless dying?

    Meanwhile, if the native population were sitting atop a pile of gold for which they had no use, would you attempt to obtain it?

    You asked:

    "How about abolitionists? Should they have adopted a more accepted stance?"

    The Greeks, from whom we received some our greatest thoughts, were slave-owners. In fact, slavery was common until the US got out of the slave business. The US Constitution and many of our most important founding documents identify blacks as less than human and therefore not endowed with the rights of citizens.

    There are a few nations in the world where slavery is still practiced. They are islamic countries. If you look at the followers of fundamental islam, like the taliban and others, you will conclude, rightly, that women are slaves. However, I do not think this disturbs you.

    You are one to say "live and let live." even though you claim to oppose slavery. But for your "live and let live" philosophy to work for you, you must avoid any real tests of it. However, if millions of muslim women are slaves, you face a conflict.

    You wrote:

    "History isn't wrong, although people often are. There were people all throughout history fighting and arguing against enslavement, hate and other forms of injustice."

    Throught out history there were plenty of people fighting FOR slavery. The Confederacy comes to mind.

    Meanwhile, the entire muslim world believes it is right to fight for the destruction of Israel. That's well over a billion muslims who support the destruction of a country of less then 7 million. But there are only 15 million Jews in the world.

    You wrote:

    "I am not looking at acts such as colonialism from a present moral view at all."

    First, Colonialism wasn't an "act", it is the term historians have given to a practice that has defined a lot of political life since the establishment of the first governments.

    The term is now a pejorative. How unfortunate. The forward movement of the world is seen in a bad light because some people have concluded colonialism upset the applecarts of some quaint tribes of jungle-dwellers.

    In the US people routinely mention the Robber Baron era, as though the dynamic people who acclerated the prosperity of this country to extraordinary levels were the bad guys. If every country in the world had American-style Robber Barons, the entire world would have risen out of poverty decades ago.

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 2:58 PM  

  • loop, you wrote:

    "The short version is that Mohamed, apparently a student of the law, attempts argument after argument that the state of Israel is illegal."

    loop, the guy is crazy. However, as you noted, his argumentative tactics were worthless. But, he followed the usual rules of islamic debate. There was nothing unusual about the path his argument followed.

    His style is based on the style of the koran. A premise is stated, usually one that is agreeable to most people. But the following argument then attempts to identify exceptions to the stated premise. By the end of the list of exceptions, the original premise is contradicted. Thus, he starts his lunacy by stating that Israel has a right to exist. By the end of his illogical and nonsensical list of counters to Israel, he concludes the state of Israel does not have a right to exist.

    I left him a question, which was to ask him what nations in the world today have a lawful right to exist.

    Based on his criteria, his list will fall far short of the number of nations in the world today. However, I will not be surprised to find all the islamic nations on his list. In fact, they may account for the entire list -- if he answers.

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 3:09 PM  

  • NS,

    I think Mohamed has grown frustrated w/ my questions and will no longer answer them so I hold out little hope he will answer, particularly b/c your narrative style is, I think, even more confrontational than my own. Perhaps he will view you as a potential convert.

    Thanks for the descrisption of the Islamic Socratic method.

    Graeme,

    I did not say historical acts are not worthy of commentary. I did admonish against taking a moral view of history, not when the actor did not think they were doing anything amiss, but when the actors are so far removed from your morality that it would have been impossible fr them to share it.

    The colonization of the New World by Europeans resulted in the extiction of a large number of native cultures. The colonizers were particularly inept at appreciating things like ethnobotany which we are only begining to appreciate today.

    On the other hand, one cannot credibly argue that human philosophy had not advanced to a degree by the fifth decade of the last century so as to defend the Nazi's final solution.

    Four days from now will mark the 62nd anniversary of dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Anyone care to weigh in on that?

    By Anonymous The Loop Garoo Kid, at 5:31 PM  

  • loop, you wrote:

    "I think Mohamed has grown frustrated w/ my questions and will no longer answer them so I hold out little hope he will answer, particularly b/c your narrative style is, I think, even more confrontational than my own."

    loop, mohamed's style is common among muslims.

    Here's an entry I lifted from another blog. Take note of the quote attributed to Edward Atiyah:

    Arab Honor and Shame

    Stanley Kurtz has an article in the National Review on honor and shame in Arab culture. He notes that the preference for the marriage of cousins “serves as a fail-safe protective device to secure collective family honor, and linked the honor-based function of cousin marriage to a broader appreciation of super-charged, in-group solidarity as a social strategy.”

    Recently it was reported that approximately half of all Iraqi marriages were to cousins. It is worth reviewing the Islamic concept of honor and shame. I suggest everyone read the classic “The Arab Mind” by Rapheal Patai.

    Patai starts by noting “Much has been written on the subject of honor (sharaf) among the Arabs. What has not been emphasized … is that there is a strong correlation between honor and group survival. Honorable behavior is that which is conducive to group cohesion and group survival. [p95] … Two components of the honor syndrome which have most to do with group survival are virility and kinship spirit.

    In the Bedouin hierarchy of values it redounds to the honor of a man to have many children, and especially sons. [p97] … [O]ne of the reasons for the general Bedouin preference for endogamy [marriage within the family]: the child-bearing capacity of its women must be preserved for the ingroup in order to make sure that all the natural increase or replacement thus obtained will take place within its own ranks rather than those of another, potentially hostile, group. [p98]

    “Historically, the sense of honor was so much tied to the group spirit that both were (and still are) referred to by one and the same term, “`asabiyya,” which means primarily “family spirit” or “kinship spirit.” … Although Muhammad condemned `asabiyya as contrary to the spirit of Islam, this could not eliminate it from the consciousness of the Arabs.

    Ibn Khaldun, the great fourteenth-century theoretician of Arab history, even went so far as to uphold `asabiyya as the fundamental bond of human society and the basic motivating force in history.” [p99]

    A group dynamic is at play in the psychology of shame. “Shame must, of course, be carefully distinguished from guilt. ‘Shame’ has been defined as a matter between a person and his society, while ‘guilt’ is primarily a matter between a person and his conscience. A hermit in a desert can feel guilt; he cannot feel shame. … What pressures the Arab to behave in an honorable manner is not guilt but shame, or, more precisely, the psychological drive to escape or prevent negative judgment by others.” [p113]

    Patai also covers the well known ethos of “sexual honor” which result in “honor killings,” in Chapter 8; [p126] This is widely known and requires no summary.

    Honor and shame, for an Arab family/tribe is seen as a key survival factor. Dishonor brings physical danger to the family. Thus, the contempt an Arab/Muslim holds for the other is expressed by violence to the other’s family.

    In Israel the main targets of suicide bombings are not military but civilian. What is being expressed is “you brought shame and death to your family.” This isn’t a second best choice because of a lack of military power; this is an end in itself.

    Arab/Muslims know that Western morality inhibits retaliation in kind. Indeed, they’ll exploit such moral sentiments in the West whenever Arab civilians are inadvertently killed. No such complaint would be lodged against a fellow Arab.

    Israel, for a time, had a policy of evicting families of suicide bombers. At least one such family turned in their son to prevent losing their home. However, Arabs quickly provided funds to reward families and neutralized this policy (Saddam was one such funding source.)

    No doubt if Israel killed the family of suicide bombers the shame/honor dynamic would diminish the high regard of being a shaheed and most likely end suicide bombings. Israel, of course, can’t do this. One Arab reporter, while gloating, told his American counterpart that "with all your technology you can’t respond to this manner of fighting." There is a perverse pride in being able to kill the families of civilized people knowing how difficult it is for them to do the same in return.

    This, of course, is not true historically. In World War I, when Germany deployed chemical weapons to killing the allies, France and England put aside their moral reservations and engaged in similar methods. Given that the wind generally blows from West to East, this gave the allies a slight advantage. Consequently, the Germans didn’t make this mistake again in WWII.

    Hitler, however, believed his air superiority gave him an edge as he bombed civilians in London. He didn’t expect the British to acquire the capacity to bomb German cities. The UK accepted the practice of bombing populous cities far sooner and to a greater extent than the USA.

    In war, moral sensibilities tend to move as the enemy lowers the bar. However, we are now fighting a war where, for the first time, a society accepts an absolute deontological prohibition against adjusting military technique given the enemy’s decent into savagery.

    No such barrier was everlasting for the UK in Europe or the USA in Japan. It is reasonable to hesitate to cross such barriers depending on the stage of the war, scale of the war and the costs of the war. But one wonders where the breaking point lies.

    Returning to Patai he makes an interesting observation of what he calls “rhetoricism.” Quoting Edward Atiyah “It is a characteristic of the Arab mind to be swayed more by words than by ideas, and more by ideas than by facts.”

    Patai notes that “Some writers go so far as to postulate an inner relationship between language and manhood: strong manhood is co-extensive with strong rhetoric. … To the Arab mind, eloquence is related to exaggeration, which is not meant to be taken literally but which only serves the purpose of effect.” [p52] By the way, Patai died decades before Baghdad Bob.

    “The psychological mechanism which produced all these untrue assertions was similar to the one which produces the typical dream of wish fulfillment: the strong desire that an event should take place … produces a verbal statement in which the desired event is represented as an accomplished fact.” [p54] We’d call that lying.

    Patai describes the “substituting words for deeds” as an Arab way of living. “The intention of doing something, or the plan of doing something, or the initiation of the first step toward doing something—any one of these can serve as a substitute for achievement and accomplishment. …

    By expressing the future act in the form of an intention, he achieves a measure of psychological relief; thereafter it no longer appears imperative to carry out the intended act.” [p67]

    By Anonymous no_slappz, at 5:54 PM  

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