The View on My Walk: Savin’ To Fight Terrorism

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saving to fight terrorism steve clemons twn 500.jpg
I normally don’t buy chachkis, but I couldn’t resist this one. It will be a priceless relic someday of this era’s destructive hyperventilation and fear-mongering.
I landed in New York this morning and stopped in one of the greatest stores I’ve ever been to — the Pearl River Mart on Broadway.
I paid $7.95 for this “Savin’ to Fight Terrorism” bank — but you can get yours easily online here at BlueQ.com!
“It’s hero time. . .put your man hat on!”
— Steve Clemons

Comments

47 comments on “The View on My Walk: Savin’ To Fight Terrorism

  1. questions says:

    Tibet

    Reply

  2. Bart says:

    Questions, I did not call China angelic. My point is that they deal with other parts of the world differently than we do, without invasions, etc.

    Reply

  3. JamesL says:

    Questions, I assume you include the US in “countries”.
    Yahoo two nite! Isreal/Usreal/Unreal does it again! “JERUSALEM – Even in the tough world of Middle East diplomacy, it was a startling snub: The Turkish ambassador was seated lower than his Israeli host, denied not only a handshake but a smile — all for the benefit of eager Israeli TV crews.”
    Damn those ‘railies know what their doin’ huh? Show them bastards yeh? And those eager Israeli tv crew, shooey-BOB! they SOMETHIN’ ain’t they? Aint so much fun since the Peg my sow chased off the sheriff lookin’ for my still. Caught him an’ downed him in the mud pen too hee hee. Makin’ friends, chewin’ the fat, bein’ downright neighborly, full o’ fun, hot damn! Screw all them damned neighbors. Meet my dumb friend US yuh piss ant.

    Reply

  4. questions says:

    Bart, you might want to reconsider. China isn’t angelic.
    And we don’t really know what will happen assuming China’s thirst for energy keeps growing.
    And they are fairly unkind to their own citizens, at least if the newspapers are to be believed.
    Countries are not exemplars of moral behavior. They are charged with a bias towards their own citizens, and most especially towards their elites and those who figure out how to manipulate the system.
    There isn’t a good one in the bunch. Nations are in a state of nature regarding one another and they generally behave badly unless they’ve contracted to behave better. And then they break contracts subject to issues of reputation and retaliation.

    Reply

  5. Art Star says:

    I totally agree, Handyman. Long live art commentating on consumerism!

    Reply

  6. Handyman says:

    But isn’t the whole point of the bank found at Pearl River Mart more a commentary on art and consumerism and societal yearnings? There is certainly a societal and political leaning to the message but that’s somewhat secondary isn’t it ?

    Reply

  7. Bart says:

    Questions,
    You might consider how China deals with hegemony. They don’t invade and occupy countries, bomb wedding parties, and starve children, while having a greater thirst for energy than ours.

    Reply

  8. questions says:

    “According to Daniel Doron, “With the momentous upheavals rocking the Muslim World, the Arab-Israeli conflict is a sideshow with little geopolitical significance.” It is a derivative conflict in which Israel is “the target of convenience for Islam’s great sense of hurt and obsessive hostility towards the West.”(22)
    The operational message is that the United States “must refocus its policy on the basic problems facing the Islamic world rather than only the Arab-Israeli conflict.”(23) Jerusalem’s attempts to turn that conflict into a Jewish-Moslem confrontation and to place America on its side to help contain radical Moslem forces in the region may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
    Note here that the argument is that Israel’s issues are not central, that Israel would like to become central, but it isn’t. That Israel is THE TARGET OF CONVENIENCE rather than something central.
    So I’m not sure where you get what you get, but I think I see where I get what I get.
    Israel would like to be central. So would Pakistan. So would India. So would greenhouse gases (which don’t come up, nor does the housing bubble, massive unemployment, or the dems’ takeover of all three branches of gov’t — showing the limits of the prognosticating power of the author).
    That they would like to be central doesn’t make them such. Unless you’re so into the Israel made 9/11 thing (which I think you probably are), the prescience fades away. We’re not, in my reading of things, worried about the ME because of Israel. We’re worried because of the logic of hegemony, the concerns about energy, and the fact that there simply is a place that needs to be filled routinely with some externality such that we have an internality.
    Islam emerged because the Soviet Union faded and suddenly there was room. Islam emerged because the US used it in the Cold War to help defeat the Soviets. Islam emerged because lots of people are Islamic and lots of Islamic governments are fairly nasty regimes. I don’t think it emerged because Israel set it all up knowing exactly what would happen. But that’s just me.
    The reading of a piece of speculation with the eyes of the present is overmuch. It’s like reading _1984_ and flipping out at how much came true or didn’t. Makes for an essay, but not for really good social analysis. The same holds for this piece. The author listed a bunch of stuff, made some predictions, some of which are related to what happened and some of which aren’t. Gee. Pick a list of things you think might be important in 20 years or in 10 years. Some of them will likely be correct. And some won’t.

    Reply

  9. questions says:

    “Possible new villains include “instability” in Europe –ranging from German resurgence to new Russian imperialism– the “vanishing” ozone layer, nuclear proliferation, and narcoterrorism. Topping the list of potential new global bogeymen, however, are the Yellow Peril, the alleged threat to American economic security emanating from East Asia, and the so-called Green Peril (green is the color of Islam).”
    This part is the list of possible new villains. Now, here’s a question. Is it possible that some of these issues are/were really problems or concerns we needed to watch? Is it possible that the ozone layer thing was a problem that was actually solved pretty easily by getting chemical propellants out of aerosols and altering refrigerants, and is it possible that the right in the US way underplayed the issue? In my view it’s possible.
    The author picks a list of things that indeed have been of concern at one level or another. Some of them turned out to be issues and some faded over time. I’d have to go back in time to see how obvious these were at the time and how prescient the author actually was at the time.
    “Growing American fears about the Green Peril are playing into the hands of governments and groups who, interestingly enough, tend to regard the Islamic threat as exaggerated. The behavior of those groups and governments recalls the way Third World countries exploited the U.S. obsession with the Red Menace during the Cold War despite their own skepticism about its long-term power.
    Pakistani officials, for example, reportedly “regard with some amusement Washington’s seeming frenzied concern about the spread of fundamentalism in Central Asia, fears they hope to exploit by presenting themselves as sober pragmatists who happen to be Muslims.” Indeed, the Pakistani government, like the Turkish government, has expressed the hope that Washington will adopt it as a new strategic ally and is encouraging Washington “to regard Islamabad as a partner in the Central Asian republics, and in the process [limit] the influence of Iran.”(19)
    Similarly, India, with its growing Hindu nationalist elements, its continuing conflict with Pakistan, and its foreign policy disorientation at the end of the Cold War, has begun to present itself as the countervailing force to the Islamic menace in Asia and Pakistan.(20)
    The Israeli government and its supporters in Washington are also trying to play the Islamic card.”
    Here’s where lots of countries are listed, and Israel is tossed in. You seem to read this as Israel is the main issue and the other countries are tossed in. I read it a little differently. Clearly, I can’t read. Oh well. Back to kindergarten.
    Maybe go through the author’s points one at a time and evaluate them. How much came true, how much was off speculation? How much did world politics get re-ordered in major ways that was predicted above? And how much of your reading is your habit of focusing laser-like and triumphally on Israel? Seems to me….
    Israel did not make us hand out Korans in Pashtun. Israel did not make us encourage Bin Laden against Afghanistan. This stuff was driven by the Cold War. Once the Soviets were out of the way, there was room for regional and religious issues to percolate up from under Soviet oppression. It’s not genius, or Israel, to suggest that issues would pop up. Mears. was saying the same basic thing with the why we will miss the Cold War thing. Once a power vacuum exists, some new power arises and that arising leads to a period of instability that can make world politics complicated. The new order may well be problematic for the old. I don’t see a whole lot of “manufacture” here or “Israel” for that matter. But I don’t see Israel under every rock.
    And note the emphasis in the piece on Pakistan and India. Hmm. Not Israel. Interesting. Pakistan, as a regional power, seems to have far more to gain. Pakistan half-ran the Afghanistan venture. Hmmm. Pakistan, not Israel. But that’s just me.

    Reply

  10. Carroll says:

    Posted by questions, Jan 11 2010, 7:27PM – Link
    The kindest thing I can say about your reply is either you read the wrong piece or you really can’t understand what you read.
    You are hopeless questions….go your merry way.

    Reply

  11. questions says:

    I reread the piece at leisure.
    First, it’s a thought piece that has a range of possible enemies. So someone is wondering which way things will go. Then the author focuses on radical Islam. It’s an interpretation of some opinion pieces, not a prediction of the future or an inside-baseball knowledge piece. And, from reading Steve Coll’s book about Afghanistan (which I’m not done with) it becomes clear that the US was working to Islamize the opposition to the Soviets. So we made our monster under the bed, as it were.
    But this is not to say that we had a policy of creating new monsters….

    Reply

  12. DonS says:

    Carroll, quite interesting reading. thanks.
    Questions, I used the term ‘parallel’ to describe similar reactions and actions by the media. If anything, Palestinians have a stronger specific claim to use asymmetrical warfare, hence one sided media bias against them is less understandable. But I didn’t go there: I just said it was a parallel. I think it is about the best parallel there is, and I was aware that using the example it could likely evoke a response from someones’s Israel tickler. Not you necessarily, but you surely did overreact in ways others have accused you of reacting when it comes to Israel.
    As to my use of the phrase “contributory responsibility” to describe the US’ aggressive and provocative footprint in the mideast and central Asia, I don’t think it is a ‘loaded’ term at all. It’s quite plainly accurate, and was intended to be so.

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    Er….exactly what did I “spin” questions?
    Not to be pissy but…can you read?
    Read it.
    Now if you are referring to my 911 insinuation…I don’t believe the Senate, here a redact, there a redact, investigation report on 911….and never will.
    Also Israel, among others, eager to create another reason to get US dollars after the cold war petered out was/is no secret….although other countries joined the bandwagon, for Israel is was absolutely critical to their survival to ensure that umbilical cord to the US remained attached.

    Reply

  14. Carroll says:

    Posted by Paul Norheim, Jan 11 2010, 2:56PM – Link
    Find it Paul and see if it matches
    Hadar, …the desire and effort to create the Green Peril wasn’t exactly secret….except from the general public.

    Reply

  15. Paul Norheim says:

    “Therefore, it seems to me, what makes a suicide bomber is not “harm” but a host of
    other characteristics that are missed by focusing on US support for any policy or
    people or place.” (Questions)
    Well, by focusing on something, anything, you`ll always ignore something else. But
    my Western mind tells me that this`s our only method to discover, not only what we
    focus on, but even what we`ve ignored. By trying to define something, we may
    discover the limits of our definition, and what is on the other side of that limit
    (read up on Adorno). By staying unfocused, we`ll not be aware of what we`re
    ignoring.
    Questions, you know very well that I do not regard Zionism as the single cause of
    all the bad things happening on our planet. But why are you insisting on excluding
    US foreign policies in the big picture? If you restrict the analysis on
    psychological or individual motives, (or only accept a very broad historical Cold
    War link as an additional element) you are not less reductive than those who solely
    blame the US/Israel relation.
    My simple point is this: If you ask for a complex approach, you have to accept that
    US policies constitutes a not insignificant part of the the complex picture. Why
    does this provoke you? This is not about justification (singular), but plausible
    explanations (plural).

    Reply

  16. Outraged American says:

    Questions,so let’s “dismantle” Israel and see what happens. Let’s
    get the Israel lobbies out of US foreign policy and see if that
    helps stop ‘”terror” along with withdrawing our forces and
    minding our own F-ing business.
    I would quote Goerge Washington here about no entangling
    alliances and free trade with all nations but then I’d have to look
    up the quote, which is too much work to do to refute a
    ridiculous argument about the blowback of UsRael’s foreign
    policy.
    I don’t have Horder’s Disorder, but I do have a cartoon that I cut
    out during the Iran hostage situation decades ago and I have no
    idea why I cut it out or why I still have it given that I knew just
    about nothing when I did cut it out of our local newspaper.
    In this cartoon there are a bunch of angry looking “raghead”
    types shouting “Death to America” juxtaposed with an American
    couple deciding what kind of shower curtain to buy. The point
    being that Americans have no idea about their foreign policy,
    while their country’s foreign policy generates hatred worldwide.
    It’s more apropos than it ever has been, and that cartoon must
    have been drawn around — when was the Iran hostage crisis
    again?

    Reply

  17. questions says:

    Carroll, I just skimmed because I’m pressed for time, but I did not at all get the emphasis and spin you put on it. Hmmm. I’ll get back to it later and see if what I re-read still says that nations like Turkey were worried about the loss of US support post-Cold War. And Israel tagged along.
    Not quite what you seem to be saying…..
    breathe

    Reply

  18. questions says:

    No panic, actually.
    And there are enough calls for disengagement with Israel on this site that I don’t think it’s a problem to bring it up.
    “Contributory responsibility” is a loaded phrase. And since DonS goes right to the I/P situation and the justified “lashing out” and I think that the reading isn’t quite right.
    Lots of people are harmed in lots of ways. Very very very few people become terrorists. And way way way fewer become suicide bombers. Therefore, it seems to me, what makes a suicide bomber is not “harm” but a host of other characteristics that are missed by focusing on US support for any policy or people or place.
    We could absent US hegemony from the universe and still there could be a sense of aggrievement and a collecting of funds to make OBL what he is.
    And, again, since disengagement with Israel is a common theme here, I discussed it in context with DonS’s post.
    I’m still breathing. I promise. Lotus position. Focus on the nothingness of nothing….
    ahhh. breathe

    Reply

  19. Paul Norheim says:

    Posted by Carroll, Jan 11 2010, 1:45PM – Link
    ——————-
    Somewhere in my apartment, I still have a 15-16 year old issue of a high
    quality Norwegian magazine that was dedicated to this question: will Islam
    become the new enemy of the West after the Cold War.

    Reply

  20. Carroll says:

    People could have just read this in 1992 and not wasted the past 10 years trying to figure out the events of the past 10 years…cause this is it darlings.
    http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-177.html
    Cato Policy Analysis No. 177 August 27, 1992
    The “Green Peril”:
    Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat
    by Leon T. Hadar
    Leon T. Hadar, a former bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post, is an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute.
    Executive Summary
    Now that the Cold War is becoming a memory, America’s foreign policy establishment has begun searching for new enemies. Possible new villains include “instability” in Europe –ranging from German resurgence to new Russian imperialism– the “vanishing” ozone layer, nuclear proliferation, and narcoterrorism. Topping the list of potential new global bogeymen, however, are the Yellow Peril, the alleged threat to American economic security emanating from East Asia, and the so-called Green Peril (green is the color of Islam). That peril is symbolized by the Middle Eastern Moslem fundamentalist–the “Fundie,” to use a term coined by The Economist(1)–a Khomeini-like creature, armed with a radical ideology, equipped with nuclear weapons, and intent on launching a violent jihad against Western civilization.
    George Will even suggested that the 1,000-year battle between Christendom and Islam might be breaking out once more when he asked, “Could it be that 20 years from now we will be saying, not that they’re at the gates of Vienna again, but that, in fact, the birth of Mohammed is at least as important as the birth of Christ, that Islamic vitality could be one of the big stories of the next generations?”(2)
    A New Cold War?
    Indeed, “a new specter is haunting America, one that some Americans consider more sinister than Marxism-Leninism,” according to Douglas E. Streusand. “That specter is Islam.”(3) The rise of political Islam in North Africa, especially the recent electoral strength of anti-liberal Islamic fundamentalist groups in Algeria; the birth of several independent Moslem republics in Central Asia whose political orientation is unclear; and the regional and international ties fostered by Islamic governments in Iran and Sudan are all producing, as Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland put it, an “urge to identify Islam as an inherently anti-democratic force that is America’s new global enemy now that the Cold War is over.”(4)
    “Islamic fundamentalism is an aggressive revolutionary movement as militant and violent as the Bolshevik, Fascist, and Nazi movements of the past,” according to Amos Perlmutter. It is “authoritarian, anti-democratic, anti-secular,” and cannot be reconciled with the “Christian-secular universe” and its goal is the establishment of a “totalitarian Islamic state” in the Middle East, he argued, suggesting that the United States should make sure the movement is “stifled at birth.”(5)
    The Islam vs. West paradigm, reflected in such observations, is beginning to infect Washington. That development recalls the efforts by some of Washington’s iron triangles as well as by foreign players during the months leading up to the 1990-91 Persian Gulf crisis. Their use of the media succeeded in building up Saddam Hussein as the “most dangerous man in the world”(6) and as one of America’s first new post-Cold War bogeymen. Those efforts, including allegations that Iraq had plans to dominate the Middle East, helped to condition the American public and elites for the U.S. intervention in the gulf.(7)
    There is a major difference between the Saddam-the- bogeyman caricature and the Green Peril. Notwithstanding the Saddam-is-Hitler rhetoric, the Iraqi leader was perceived as merely a dangerous “thug” who broke the rules of the game and whom Washington could suppress by military force. Saddam’s Iraq was a threat to a regional balance of power, not to the American way of life.
    The alleged threat from Iran and militant Islam is different. The struggle between that force and the West is portrayed as a zero-sum game that can end only in the defeat of one of the sides. The Iranian ayatollahs and their allies–“revolutionary,” “fanatic,” and “suicidal” people that they are–cannot be co-opted into balance-of-power arrangements by rewards and are even seen as immune to military and diplomatic threats. One can reach a tactical compromise with them–such as the agreement with Lebanese Shi’ite groups to release the American hostages–but on the strate gic level the expectation is for a long, drawn-out battle.
    Indeed, like the Red Menace of the Cold War era, the Green Peril is perceived as a cancer spreading around the globe, undermining the legitimacy of Western values and political systems. The cosmic importance of the confrontation would make it necessary for Washington to adopt a longterm diplomatic and military strategy; to forge new and solid alliances; to prepare the American people for a neverending struggle that will test their resolve; and to develop new containment policies, new doctrines, and a new foreign policy elite with its “wise men” and “experts.”
    There are dangerous signs that the process of creating a monolithic threat out of isolated events and trends in the Moslem world is already beginning. The Green Peril thesis is now being used to explain diverse and unrelated events in that region, with Tehran replacing Moscow as the center of ideological subversion and military expansionism and Islam substituting for the spiritual energy of communism.
    Islam does seem to fit the bill as the ideal post-Cold War villain. “It’s big; it’s scary; it’s anti-Western; it feeds on poverty and discontent,” wrote David Ignatius, adding that Islam “spreads across vast swaths of the globe that can be colored green on the television maps in the same way that communist countries used to be colored red.”(8)
    Foreign policy experts are already using the familiar Cold War jargon to describe the coming struggle with Islam. There is talk about the need to “contain” Iranian influence around the globe, especially in Central Asia, which seemed to be the main reason for Secretary of State James A. Baker III’s February stop in that region.(9) Strategists are beginning to draw a “red line” for the fundamentalist leaders of Sudan, as evidenced by a U.S. diplomat’s statement last November warning Khartoum to refrain from “exporting” revolution and terrorism.(10) Washington’s policymakers even applauded the January 1992 Algerian “iron fist” military coup that prevented an Islamic group from winning the elections. The notion that we have to stop the fundamentalists somewhere echoes the Cold War’s domino theory.
    “Geopolitically, Iran’s targets are four–the Central Asian republics, the Maghreb or North Africa, Egypt and other neighboring Arab countries, and the Persian Gulf states,” explained Hoover Institution senior fellow Arnold Beichman, who is raising the Moslem alarm. Beichman suggested that “the first major target” for radical Iran and its militant strategy would be “oil-rich, militarily weak Saudi Arabia, keeper of Islam’s holy places and OPEC’s decisionmaker on world oil prices.”(11) If the West does not meet that challenge, a Green Curtain will be drawn across the crescent of instability, and “the Middle East and the once Soviet Central Asian republics could become in a few years the cultural and political dependencies of the most expansionist militarized regime in the world today, a regime for which terrorism is a governing norm,” he warned.(12)
    The Making of a “Peril”
    The Islamic threat argument is becoming increasingly popular with some segments of the American foreign policy establishment. They are encouraged by foreign governments who, for reasons of self-interest, want to see Washington embroiled in the coming West vs. Islam confrontation. The result is the construction of the new peril, a process that does not reflect any grand conspiracy but that nevertheless has its own logic, rules and timetables.
    The creation of a peril usually starts with mysterious “sources” and unnamed officials who leak information, float trial balloons, and warn about the coming threat. Those sources reflect debates and discussions taking place within government. Their information is then augmented by colorful intelligence reports that finger exotic and conspiratorial terrorists and military advisers. Journalists then search for the named and other villains. The media end up finding corroboration from foreign sources who form an informal coalition with the sources in the U.S. government and help the press uncover further information substantiating the threat coming from the new bad guys.
    In addition, think tanks studies and op-ed pieces add momentum to the official spin. Their publication is followed by congressional hearings, policy conferences, and public press briefings. A governmental policy debate ensues, producing studies, working papers, and eventually doctrines and policies that become part of the media’s spin. The new villain is now ready to be integrated into the popular culture to help to mobilize public support for a new crusade. In the case of the Green Peril, that process has been under way for several months.(13)
    A series of leaks, signals, and trial balloons is already beginning to shape U.S. agenda and policy. Congress is about to conduct several hearings on the global threat of Islamic fundamentalism.(14) The Bush administration has been trying to devise policies and establish new alliances to counter Iranian influence: building up Islamic but secular and pro-Western Turkey as a countervailing force in Central Asia, expanding U.S. commitments to Saudi Arabia, warning Sudan that it faces grave consequences as a result of its policies, and even shoring up a socialist military dictatorship in Algeria.
    Regional Powers Exploit U.S. Fears
    Not surprisingly, foreign governments, including those of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel, India, and Pakistan, have reacted to the evidence of U.S. fear. With the end of the Cold War they are concerned about a continued U.S. commitment to them and are trying to exploit the menace of Islamic fundamentalism to secure military support, economic aid, and political backing from Washington as well as to advance their own domestic and regional agendas. The Gulf War has already provided the Turks, Saudis, Egyptians, and Israelis with an opportunity to revive the American engagement in the Middle East and their own roles as Washington’s regional surrogates. Now that the Iraqi danger has been diminished, the Islamic fundamentalist threat is a new vehicle for achieving those goals.
    Pakistan, which lost its strategic value to the United States as a conduit of military aid to the guerrillas in Afghanistan, and India, whose Cold War Soviet ally has disintegrated, are both competing for American favors by using the Islamic card in their struggle for power in Southwest Asia. That struggle involves such issues as the Kashmir problem and an accelerating nuclear arms race.(15)
    Even such disparate entities as Australia and the Iranian Mojahedin opposition forces are conducting public relations and lobbying efforts in the United States based on the Islamic fundamentalist threat. Colin Rubenstein recently discussed the need to maintain an American military presence in Asia to contain the power of the Moslem government in Malaysia, which according to him has adopted increasingly repressive measures at home and has been developing military ties with Libya as part of a strategy to spread its radical Islamic message in Asia. If Washington refuses to project its diplomatic and military power to contain the Malaysian-produced Islamic threat in Asia, there is a danger that the United States and Australia will soon face anti-American and anti-Israeli blocs, Rubenstein insisted.(16)
    The Iranian opposition group, which in the past has subscribed to socialist and anti-American positions, is now interested in maintaining U.S. pressure on the government of President Hashemi Rafsanjani and in winning Western public support. To achieve those goals it is playing up the possi bility of a Tehran-led political terrorist campaign aimed at creating an “Islamic bloc” in Central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa and suggesting that to avoid such a campaign Washington should back the Mojahedin in Tehran.(17)
    Even Washington’s long-time nemesis–the hard-core Marxist and former Soviet ally, former president Mohammad Najibullah of Afghanistan, against whom the United States helped sponsor Pakistani-directed guerrilla warfare–a few days before his ouster from power offered his services in the new struggle against the radical Islamic threat. “We have a common task, Afghanistan, the United States of America, and the civilized world, to launch a joint struggle against fundamentalism,” he explained. Najibullah warned Washington that unless he was kept in power, Islamic fundamentalists would take over Afghanistan and turn it into a “center of world smuggling for narcotic drugs” and a “center for terrorism.”(18)
    The Beneficiaries and Their Motives
    Growing American fears about the Green Peril are playing into the hands of governments and groups who, interestingly enough, tend to regard the Islamic threat as exaggerated. The behavior of those groups and governments recalls the way Third World countries exploited the U.S. obsession with the Red Menace during the Cold War despite their own skepticism about its long-term power.
    Pakistani officials, for example, reportedly “regard with some amusement Washington’s seeming frenzied concern about the spread of fundamentalism in Central Asia, fears they hope to exploit by presenting themselves as sober pragmatists who happen to be Muslims.” Indeed, the Pakistani government, like the Turkish government, has expressed the hope that Washington will adopt it as a new strategic ally and is encouraging Washington “to regard Islamabad as a partner in the Central Asian republics, and in the process [limit] the influence of Iran.”(19)
    Similarly, India, with its growing Hindu nationalist elements, its continuing conflict with Pakistan, and its foreign policy disorientation at the end of the Cold War, has begun to present itself as the countervailing force to the Islamic menace in Asia and Pakistan.(20)
    The Israeli government and its supporters in Washington are also trying to play the Islamic card. The specter of Central Asian republics and Iran equipped with nuclear weapons helps Israel to reduce any potential international pressure on it to place its own nuclear capabilities and strategy on the negotiating table. More important, perhaps, the Green Peril could revive, in the long run, Israel’s role as America’s strategic asset, which was eroded as a result of the end of the Cold War and was seriously questioned during the Gulf War.(21)
    Israel could become the contemporary crusader nation, a bastion of the West in the struggle against the new transnational enemy, Islamic fundamentalism. According to Daniel Doron, “With the momentous upheavals rocking the Muslim World, the Arab-Israeli conflict is a sideshow with little geopolitical significance.” It is a derivative conflict in which Israel is “the target of convenience for Islam’s great sense of hurt and obsessive hostility towards the West.”(22)
    The operational message is that the United States “must refocus its policy on the basic problems facing the Islamic world rather than only the Arab-Israeli conflict.”(23) Jerusalem’s attempts to turn that conflict into a Jewish-Moslem confrontation and to place America on its side to help contain radical Moslem forces in the region may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The result is likely to be strengthened anti-American feelings in the Middle East and anti-American terrorist acts, which, in turn, will invite a new round of American military intervention.
    Egypt’s role in the Gulf War has produced some economic benefits, including forgiveness of its $7 billion debt to the United States, and its agreement with Israel has improved Cairo’s position as a mediator in the peace process. However, Washington’s post-Desert Storm expectation that Cairo would play an active role in the new security arrangement in the gulf has proven unrealistic. Saudi Arabia and other conservative gulf monarchies have been less than enthusiastic about Egypt’s playing a military role in the region. Since it cannot become a U.S. surrogate in the gulf, Cairo is focusing on its neighbor, Sudan, as a new bogeyman, or radical threat, in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. Presumably, Cairo hopes thereby to gain new significance in the American global perspective. Exaggerating the threat also gives Cairo an environment conducive to military action against Sudan that could fulfill the historical Egyptian goal of turning that country into a protectorate of Cairo.
    Sudan: A New Scapegoat….(..read on and learn.)
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    “Islam” was a bogey man that Israel and activist US zionist in particular pushed on the US, but as always there were others that saw the benefits to piggybacking the Green Peril agenda. When Uncle Sam goes stomping around he attracts a lot of sucker fish that latch on for the spoils. In essence the whole war on Islam really is simple, not complicated. It was “manufactured” and then and voila la!…911 happened and that was all that was needed to put it into action.
    How convenient.

    Reply

  21. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions, I can`t see from anything Don wrote that he plays the “blame Israel game”
    here. Most of the prominent and not-so prominent Jihadists (including OBL) have
    referred to Israel/Palestine and the US soldiers on “holy land” in SA as two, among
    several reasons to “attack” America. Does it make sense to ignore this completely?
    Sure, there may be psychological reasons as well as political ones, both on the
    individual and the cultural level. And then there is a question of tactics in
    “asymmetric warfare”.
    Yeah, the support for authoritarian Arab regimes has it roots in the Cold War, and oil
    is a huge factor. But it`s fascinating to notice how – as soon as someone hint at the
    unconditional US support of Israel AMONG the reasons – you panic and scream THE WORLD
    IS COMPLEX AND YOU ARE SIMPLIFYING EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING!!!
    Calm down a bit!

    Reply

  22. questions says:

    If, while we’re under the gun as it were, we pull back, then we’ll be in worse shape. There are what may well be strategic concerns regarding face saving.
    If we can find a way to, ahem ahem, declare, ahem ahem, “victory,” ahem ahem, and then pull back a bit, maybe there might be something sensible to it all. But what this “pull back” means must absolutely be spelled out. Does it mean no access to oil and resources? Kiss your car, your computer, your job good bye.
    Does it mean, the way it often does around here, dump Israel as an ally and pick up OBL? What are the chances, really, that dumping Israel makes OBL call off the attacks? It’s a fantasy, near as I can tell.
    Do I think there’s some sort of justification for the attacks? I’m not dumb enough to think that US policy has nothing to do with anything. I’m not dumb enough to think that we got ourselves at some level into this mess. But that’s the Cold War, and oil, and geostrategic gamesmanship that so totally goes beyond anything having to do with Israel that I cannot the least bit take this version of pullback seriously.
    Years and years ago, M of “W AND M” ™ fame wrote a piece for the NYT called “Why We’ll Miss the Cold War.” He thinks in terms of deterrence as a stable international system. WMD balance of terror stuff makes sense to him. But underlying all of that balance of terror stuff, and all those weapons programs and all the things we built and relationships we constructed and loyalties we purchased was the mess we’re seeing now. I don’t miss the Cold War. I want it undone because it, like any bubble, led to the false valuation of everything it touched.
    But we can no more undo the Cold War than we can undo the housing bubble. We just have to work through it.
    Islamist terrorism is a Cold War offshoot. The Cold War caused the bad relationships, the radicalization, the build up of unstable and quite nasty regimes. The Cold War froze political development in numerous nations that have glorious histories of brilliance. (Algebra, for one thing. Place value in the number system for another.) But nasty regimes upheld by US support are the rule of the day.
    None of this is to protect Israel qua Israel. More, it is to protect a vision of hegemony that is supported because in a variety of ways it profits huge numbers of people. From arms dealers to members of Congress, from fear-mongers to Fox News, from tyrants to terrorists, this stuff is “f’in gold” to quote a guy who’s more black than Obama (!! I did not make that up.)
    The systemic issues are huge. The untangling is Gordion. (sp?)
    Playing the blame Israel game is trivial.

    Reply

  23. DonS says:

    Questions, I’ll assume you are not particularly attributing your “single cause of the act of ‘terror'” to me, just because you know that would not be true.
    But your bringing up the relative obverse of my suggestions leads me to further spell it out. Seeing only the end product, a ‘terrorist act’, is the real equivalent of a triumphalist mindset that cannot fathom that other peoples in the world have the right not to be assaulted by the West with the underlying excuse of hunting down ‘evil terrorists’. I know history is complex, as you say, but I do not see the double bind you do, certainly not vitiating a moral and ethical path to acknowledge and lessen the footprint and acts of West, particularly the US, playing an aggravating role in the world.
    Basically the US has all the guns and bullets, and the wild west mentality to use them. The ‘terrorists’, that ever renewable resource as long as the US is stuck in it’s triumphal mindset, gets off a good shot now and then. The approach of the US is reactive and borne out of frustration, wanting to look tough and [any politician] not wanting to be called ‘soft on terror’. The approach is, as an old professor of mine used to express, using a meat ax where a scalpel is called for.
    Acting on our ethnocentric myopia and paranoia isn’t working, in fact it makes things worse and squeezes out more rational approaches from being considered. If we want a more viable stasis, as we profess, doesn’t it make sense to ditch the ignorant end of the spectrum? That’s not a double bind.

    Reply

  24. questions says:

    Bart,
    Remember oil and energy security? If another nation challenges our energy sources, we’re not going to be happy campers.
    The US reserves for itself what it doesn’t allow others. That’s what hegemony is all about. And being number one. And being a super power and the like….
    And furthermore, the analogy fails on the grounds that Al Qaeda is not a state. It would be more like the Tea Baggers of some county somewhere starting to blow up airplanes because England had troops in New Jersey. Ok, lousy analogy. The point, though, is that AQ is not a state, and so the Monroe Doctrine is not at issue in this comparison.
    The US is involved all over the world. We are nasty, brutish, not short. Only a few people have blown themselves up over this sad fact. The logical conclusion, then, is that US presence is less a problem than, say, whatever it is that makes a handful of people explode themselves on planes, in hotels, or wherever.
    Leaving the east to the easterners or whatever isn’t going to solve this problem. And there’s still an energy/resource issue. And even the occasional humanitarian thing pops up. (Taliban? Seriously?)
    So what would you do? And what do you think are the predictable consequences of your preferences?

    Reply

  25. Bart says:

    Questions,
    Remember the Monroe Doctrine? Do we have a patent on the concept? If another nation were to do in our part of the world what we do in theirs, you can bet our heavily armed citizenry as well as our military would be all over them, suiciders notwithstanding.

    Reply

  26. questions says:

    “We need an acronym or a short hand way to describe that mindset which sees only the result, the act of ‘terror’, while denying any contributory responsibility of the West, particularly the US. It’s a situation that parallels the Is/Pal mess where the US media sees only the culpability of the Palestinians in their asymmetrical attempts to lash out at the Israeli excesses. But while that comparison may be instructive it shouldn’t limit our characterization.”
    So writes DonS.
    How about an acronym or a short hand way to describe the mindset that sees only a single cause of the act of ‘terror’ and that therefore misses a whole range of contributory issues.
    The real question, for ME issues, is would OBL or a clone have wanted to attack the US were Israel’s Jewish population dropped into the sea, Manhattan, or Miami. But were there no Jewish Israel, there might still have been a US presence in Saudi Arabia (remember, THAT was Bin Lauden’s original concern), and were there no Jewish presence in Israel, there might still be, umm, energy issues in the ME. And were there no Jewish presence in Israel, there might still be instigators who find a great deal of payoff for getting people pissed with the US. There might still have been a Cold War and a Soviet presence in Afghanistan and the concomitant US presence in Afghanistan which of course energized the radicalization process….
    In short, history is complex. The causal paths for any even are multiple. So settling on the dismantling of Israel as one’s fantasy for what could be is likely just that — a fantasy. Not anything that will help. But it does seem to be a popular fantasy around here….
    Nowhere have I denied the contributions the US has made to its own half-demise. But I locate those contributions more in the Cold War insanity than I do in anything contemporary.
    The US is in a bind. Should it give in to the version of reality that says the wars must end, it simultaneously gives in to Islamist triumphalism. That might actually be foolish. I don’t know enough to say definitively, but it might actually cause us some serious problems. Reputation issues have a habit of mattering at inconvenient moments.
    Should we fail to give in, of course we will continue the mess we’re in. Not so good either.
    I think this is a classic double bind. And the way out is not the way in. We need to redefine numerous terms and restructure relations in a way that gives us a face-saving out. Just like a good marital therapist will help both clients save face and either put the marriage back together or help it end in friendly fashion. A bad therapist blames one party and doesn’t help with peace-making or saving the psyches of the kids.

    Reply

  27. Carroll says:

    Guess it didn’t work out this time huh? No punch up for the GWOT.
    Israeli firm blasted for letting would-be plane bomber slip through
    By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
    Tags: Israel news,
    The Israeli firm ICTS International (not to be confused with ICTS Europe, which is a different company), and two of its subsidiaries are at the crux of an international investigation in recent days, as experts try to pinpoint the reasons for the security failure that enabled Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board Northwest flight 253 and attempt to set alight explosives hidden in his underwear.
    A Haaretz investigation has learned that the security officers and their supervisor should have suspected the passenger, even without having early intelligence available to them.
    At this time, ICTS and the Dutch security firm G4S are hurling recriminations at each other, as are the authorities at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Federal Aviation Authority and U.S. intelligence officials.
    Advertisement
    The failure was a twin flop: An intelligence failure, which U.S. President Barack Obama has already stated, in the poor handling of information that arrived at the State Department and probably also the CIA from both the father of the would-be bomber and the British security service; and a failure within the security system, including that of the Israeli firm ICTS.
    The ICTS daughter company, I-SEC, has another daughter company – called PI (Pro-Check International). The firms provide security services to airports: consultation, instruction, training, inspection and supervision

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Time for another cup of coffee….”
    Really?
    How many weeks did it take you to decide on whether it would be one lump, or two?

    Reply

  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The problems with McGovern’s piece are many and varied”
    Yeah, well, I think I will listen to the former CIA analyst before I’ll listen to a smug and habitual contrairian.

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Heres an important article, supplying a part of the picture that our own media is not providing. I have not heard one single media source mention ICTS, or even touch on the fact that airport security, in a large part, is handled by private contractors. Note that ICTS is the same security company that the shoe bomber went through to board an aircraft, and is supposedly the same security company many of the 9/11 hijackers managed to hoodwink into being allowed on aircraft…..
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1141434.html
    Israeli firm blasted for letting would-be plane bomber slip through
    The Israeli firm ICTS International (not to be confused with ICTS Europe, which is a different company), and two of its subsidiaries are at the crux of an international investigation in recent days, as experts try to pinpoint the reasons for the security failure that enabled Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board Northwest flight 253 and attempt to set alight explosives hidden in his underwear.
    continues…

    Reply

  31. DonS says:

    We need an acronym or a short hand way to describe that mindset which sees only the result, the act of ‘terror’, while denying any contributory responsibility of the West, particularly the US. It’s a situation that parallels the Is/Pal mess where the US media sees only the culpability of the Palestinians in their asymmetrical attempts to lash out at the Israeli excesses. But while that comparison may be instructive it shouldn’t limit our characterization.
    Helen Thomas attempted to get at the idea through questioning the ‘motivation’ for acts of terror, and the implicit contribution that US actions plays; in law one might refer to contri8butory negligence, although it seems far more active than that concept implies.
    I’m led to think along the lines of ‘deniers’, as in climate change deniers, or ‘thers’ as in ‘birthers’ or ‘tenthers’.
    There’s no question that there is an ethnocentric myopia that stigmatizes even asking the question, much less venturing the notion that the US plays an aggressive and provocative role in the middle east and central Asia.
    Anyone got and idea????

    Reply

  32. questions says:

    Bart,
    Terrorism is not limited to the mideast, to Islamists, or OBL. It’s a far broader phenomenon with far broader causation than “mucking about.” Remember, one man’s “mucking about” is another man’s political support. How does one distinguish? The explanatory categories for a complex phenomenon must themselves deal with the complexity.
    And re the role-reversal thing — I personally would not be a likely candidate for suicide bombing. That fact alone suggests that “mucking about” is insufficient. And to be honest, it might not really be necessary. Merely the appearance of “mucking about” might be sufficient. Actual mucking? Maybe not so much.
    And “logical?” Not so sure about that either. Emotional? Sure. Self-sacrificial? Yes. The only way out? Probably not. Altruistic? Who knows. Deluded? Quite likely.
    Though clearly, terror and suicide terror need to be separated in all of this.
    Again, it’s better not to reduce the problem to a uni-dimensional issue. Personality, event, peer group, instigator, funding, texts that can be read to support the aggrieved party (the US Constitution, the Koran, the Bible…), properly attached/detached young (usually) men (usually), and a host of other conditions must be met. Remember, aggrievement can be constructed out of whole cloth. It’s merely one facet of an entire system that produces a suicide bomber. The apparatus is complex.

    Reply

  33. Bart says:

    Questions, terrorism is a logical reaction to a much stronger foe mucking about in your part of the world. What would we do if roles were reversed?

    Reply

  34. Carroll says:

    Worrying about the wrong terrorist? Maybe this will help.
    These are all the bailout programs IN ADDITION to the 700 billion TARP.
    So the actual total is 14 Trillion, not 700 billion.
    List….(from Mother Jones, check it out)
    Treasury Department bailout programs
    1)Money Market Mutual Fund: In September 2008, the Treasury announced that it would insure the holdings of publicly offered money market mutual funds. According to the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), these guarantees could have potentially cost the federal government more than $3 trillion [PDF].
    2)Public-Private Investment Fund: This joint Treasury-Federal Reserve program bought toxic assets from banks and brokerages—as much as $5 billion of assets per firm. According to SIGTARP, the government’s potential exposure from the PPIF is between $500 million and $1 trillion [PDF].
    3)Government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) stock purchase: The Treasury has bought $200 million in preferred stock from Fannie Mae and another $200 million from Freddie Mac [PDF] to show that they “will remain viable entities critical to the functioning of the housing and mortgage markets.”
    4)GSE mortgage-backed securities purchase: Under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the Treasury may buy mortgage-backed securities from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. According to SIGTARP, these purchases could cost as much as $314 billion [PDF].
    5)Citigroup asset guarantee: In this joint Treasury, Federal Reserve, and FDIC program, the government agreed to cover potential losses to a Citigroup asset pool worth $301 billion [PDF].
    6)T-bill auctions to fund the Fed: In November 2008, the Treasury announced that it would borrow $260 billion to fund the Supplementary Financing Program, whose proceeds were deposited with the Federal Reserve.
    7)TARP overpayment: This June, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the federal government would lose $159 billion from its TARP loans and investments due to changes in their market value. (So far, Treasury has earned $14.4 billion in dividends from TARP.)
    8)Bank of America asset guarantee: In this joint Treasury, Federal Reserve, and FDIC program, the government agreed to cover potential losses to a Bank of America asset pool worth $118 billion. Bank of America has withdrawn from the program and has paid the government $425 million [PDF] in compensation.
    9)Potential international fund liabilities: In April, the United States committed up to $100 billion to fund the International Monetary Fund’s lending and ensure that it “has adequate resources to play its central role in resolving and preventing the spread of international economic and financial crises.”
    10)HAMP: The Home Affordable Modification Program offers financial incentives to lenders to modify home loans. $75 billion in federal funds has been committed; $50 billion of that comes from TARP is set aside to modify mortgages not owned or guaranteed by Frannie Mae, Freddie Mac or other government-sponsored entities.
    11)Treasury exchange stabilization fund: A temporary program to insure the holdings of publicly offered money market mutual funds.
    12)GSE credit facility program: Additional credit made available to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Expires December 31, 2009.
    Federal Reserve bailout programs
    1)Commercial Paper Funding Facility: With the support from the Treasury, the Fed established the CPFF in October 2008 to increase the availability of short-term debt (commercial paper) funding. Up to $1.8 trillion [PDF] was earmarked for the program.
    2)Mortgage-backed securities purchase: In 2009, the Fed earmarked up to $1.25 trillion to buy investments based on home loans.
    3)Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility: TALF provides financing to investors who are buying asset-backed securities. In February 2009, the Fed and Treasury announced an expansion of the program to generate up to $1 trillion in new lending.
    4)Foreign Central Bank Currency Liquidity Swaps: The Fed has provided $755 billion [PDF] for currency liquidity swaps with foreign central banks.
    5)Money Market Investor Funding Facility: The MMIF was established in October 2008 to provide loans for investors buying certificates of deposit and commercial paper. According to SIGTARP, $600 billion [PDF] was allocated for the program.
    6)Treasury Purchase Program: In March 2009, the Fed was authorized to purchase up to $300 billion of treasury securities.
    7)GSE Program: In March 2009, the Fed increased its purchases of debt from government-sponsored enterprises (Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac) from $100 billion to $200 billion.
    8)Primary Dealer Credit Facility: The PDCF provides overnight loans to primary dealers (financial firms that can engage in direct transactions with the federal government). The Fed allocated $147.7 billion [PDF] for it in 2009.
    9)ABCP MMMF liquidity facility: The Asset-Backed Commercial Paper (ABCP) Money Market Mutual Fund (MMMF) Liquidity Facility (whew!) provides loans to financial institutions purchasing commercial paper from money market mutual funds. According to SIGTARP, the Fed allocated $145.9 billion for the program in 2009.
    10)JPMorgan Chase/Lehman Brothers: In September 2008, the Fed gave JPMorgan Chase $148 billion in help the near-bankrupt Lehman Brothers.
    11)Open Market Operations: In September 2008, the Fed injected $125 billion into the market by purchasing securities and repurchase agreements, or repos, in which primary dealers borrow cash from the fed.
    12)Tri-Party Repurchase Agreements: The Fed provided $124.6 billion [PDF] for this type of repo in 2009.
    13)Primary Credit: The Fed provided $112 billion [PDF] to offer loans at a discounted rate to eligible institutions in 2009.
    14)Temporary Reserves: Between August and September 2007, the Fed made $93 billion of temporary reserves available for loans to financial firms.
    15)Single-Tranche Repurchase Agreements: In 2009, the Fed offered a total of $80 billion for short-term loans to holders of mortgage-backed securities.
    16)Term Auction Facility: Under TAF, the Fed auctions short-term loans to financial institutions. The amount of loans offered has varied widely; between December 2009 and January 2010, $75 billion in loans will be available.
    17)AIG preferred stock interests, credit, and loan: The Fed provided $53 billion to the struggling AIG in various forms between 2008 and 2009.
    18)AIG Securities Lending Facility: In October 2008, the Fed authorized the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to borrow up to $37.8 billion in securities from AIG.
    19)
    Maiden Lane II and III (AIG): In 2008, the Fed authorized its New York branch to form three limited liability companies: Maiden Lane, Maiden Lane II, and Maiden Lane III. It provided $52.5 billion to Maiden Lane II and III to assist AIG.
    20)Maiden Lane I (Bear Stearns): The Fed provided $29.8 billion to Maiden Lane I to acquire Bear Stearns’ assets and facilitate its merger with JPMorgan Chase.
    21)TSLF: The Term Securities Lending Facility offers Treasury collateral to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York so it can auction weekly loans to financial institutions. $25 billion in loans will be available between November 2009 and January 2010.
    22)TOP: The Term Securities Lending Facility Options Program allowed primary dealers to get TSLF loans in exchange for collateral. At the time of the program’s termination in June 2009, $50 billion in loans had been offered.
    23)Expansion of system open market account securities lending: In July 2009, the Fed increased its limit for loans of securities to brokers from $3 billion to $5 billion, for a total of $36 billion [PDF] in new lending.
    24)JPMC/Bear Stearns Loan: The Fed provided a $12.9 billion bridge loan [PDF] to JPMorgan Chase during its acquisition of Bear Stearns.

    Reply

  35. questions says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/weekinreview/10kershaw.html?ref=weekinreview
    Today’s Times — piece on motivations of terrorists. Interesting read.
    Lots of things would seem to drive people to blow themselves up. Credentials never really do much for me anyway. And besides, I’m not sure that “former CIA analyst” is the best credential there is for understanding things. It’s not like the CIA is universally spot on….

    Reply

  36. Kathleen says:

    Questions
    I think somehow Ray McGovern would have deeper and more in depth insights as a former CIA analyst than most of us. Further he is not saying do what OBL or KSM say to do. He is explaining what drives people to blow themselves and others to smitherins. The Israeli Palestinian conflict and the lopsided policies of the U.S. in that part of the world.
    We have only been hearing this for decades.
    I think McGovern’s points are spot on. And as he and Gleen Greenwald have pointed out Helen Thomas ask the most simple, logical, straight forward question “what is the motivation” behind these bombings

    Reply

  37. questions says:

    OOPS! Not “Terry” McVeigh…. Oh well…. Time for another cup of coffee….

    Reply

  38. questions says:

    The problems with McGovern’s piece are many and varied.
    First, lots of people disagree with lots of political strategies and policies and cruelties, but most of them don’t become terrorists. Disagreement might be necessary, but it’s insufficient.
    Second, doing what KSM or OBL says is not exactly a great strategy. We know what it means to “give in” to “bullies” — not necessarily a great idea. Maybe the “bullies” are really “freedom fighters” and maybe not. But seriously, were every country simply to do what any single irritated individual demanded, what a mess we’d still have.
    Third, the individual reasons for getting involved in terrorism are varied, wide, and, well, individual. In this case, “Israel” is a meme, not necessarily the central cause. The desire for purity or power or some kind of inner psychic drama can easily be seen as a more proximate cause that merely uses “Israel” as a convenient excuse for rallying the troops.
    “Why do they hate us” is the wrong question, and so it will give the wrong answer. We should perhaps be asking instead, “Why are terror attacks in vogue as a way to settle conflicts?” or “Why is the call for purity so powerful?” or “What do Terry McVeigh and KSM and OBL have in common with Ted Kasczynski and the Tea Partiers/Tea Baggers?” Note how it’s not always “Israel” and it’s not always even suicide bombing, but it is political disagreement with a desire for a different power structure.
    Reductive thinking doesn’t really help with policy issues.

    Reply

  39. Kathleen says:

    Must Read article by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern (how many times do we have to hear this?)
    http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/010810b.html
    Answering Helen Thomas on Why
    By Ray McGovern
    January 8, 2010
    Thank God for Helen Thomas, the only person to show any courage at the White House press briefing after President Barack Obama gave a flaccid account of the intelligence screw-up that almost downed an airliner on Christmas Day.
    Share this article
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    After Obama briefly addressed L’Affaire Abdulmutallab and wrote “must do better” on the report cards of the national security schoolboys responsible for the near catastrophe, the President turned the stage over to counter-terrorism guru John Brennan and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
    It took 89-year old veteran correspondent Helen Thomas to break through the vapid remarks about rechanneling “intelligence streams,” fixing “no-fly” lists, deploying “behavior detection officers,” and buying more body-imaging scanners.
    “Media Squelching
    As for media squelching, I continue to be amazed at how otherwise informed folks express total surprise when I refer them to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s statement about his motivation for attacking the United States, as cited on page 147 of the 9/11 Commission Report:
    “By his own account, KSM’s animus toward the United States stemmed not from his experience there as a student, but rather from his violent disagreement with U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.”
    And one can understand how even those following such things closely can get confused. Five years after the 9/11 Commission Report, on Aug. 30, 2009, readers of the neoconservative Washington Post were given a diametrically different view, based on what the Post called “an intelligence summary:”
    “KSM’s limited and negative experience in the United States — which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills — almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist … He stated that his contact with Americans, while minimal, confirmed his view that the United States was a debauched and racist country.”
    Apparently, the Post found this revisionist version politically more convenient, in that it obscured Mohammed’s other explanation implicating “U.S. foreign policy favoring Israel.” It’s much more comforting to view KSM as a disgruntled visitor who nursed his personal grievances into justification for mass murder.
    An unusually candid view of the dangers accruing from the U.S. identification with Israel’s policies appeared five years ago in an unclassified study published by the Pentagon-appointed U.S. Defense Science Board on Sept. 23, 2004. Contradicting President George W. Bush, the board stated:
    “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf States.
    “Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.”
    Abdulmutallab’s Attack
    Getting back to Abdulmutallab and his motive in trying to blow up the airliner, how was this individual without prior terrorist affiliations suddenly transformed into an international terrorist ready to die while killing innocents?
    If, as John Brennan seems to suggest, al Qaeda terrorists are hard-wired for terrorism at birth for the “wanton slaughter of innocents,” how are they able to jump-start a privileged 23-year old Nigerian, inculcate in him with the acquired characteristics of a terrorist, and persuade him to do the bidding of al Qaeda/Persian Gulf?
    As indicated above, the young Nigerian seems to have had particular trouble with Israel’s wanton slaughter of more than a thousand civilians in Gaza a year ago, a brutal campaign that was defended in Washington as justifiable self-defense.
    Moreover, it appears that Abdulmuttallab is not the only anti-American “terrorist” so motivated. When the Saudi and Yemeni branches of al Qaeda announced that they were uniting into “al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula,” their combined rhetoric railed against the Israeli attack on Gaza.
    And on Dec. 30, Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi, a 32-year-old Palestinian-born Jordanian physician, killed seven American CIA operatives and one Jordanian intelligence officer near Khost, Afghanistan, when he detonated a suicide bomb.
    Though most U.S. media stories treated al-Balawi as a fanatical double-agent driven by irrational hatreds, other motivations could be gleaned by carefully reading articles about his personal history.
    Al-Balawi’s mother told Agence France-Presse that her son had never been an “extremist.” Al-Balawi’s widow, Defne Bayrak, made a similar statement to Newsweek. In a New York Times article, al-Balawi’s brother was quoted as describing him as a “very good brother” and a “brilliant doctor.”
    So what led al-Balawi to take his own life in order to kill U.S. and Jordanian intelligence operatives?
    Al-Balawi’s widow said her husband “started to change” after the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. His brother said al-Balawi “changed” during last year’s three-week-long Israeli offensive in Gaza, which killed about 1,300 Palestinians.
    When al-Balawi volunteered with a medical organization to treat injured Palestinians in Gaza, he was arrested by Jordanian authorities, his brother said.
    It was after that arrest that the Jordanian intelligence service apparently coerced or “recruited” al-Balawi to become a spy who would penetrate al Qaeda’s hierarchy and provide actionable intelligence to the CIA.

    Reply

  40. Carroll says:

    Do they sell any “piggy banks” with Wall Street or The Fed emblazoned across the pig’s belly?
    Do watch this week’s public hearings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission.
    NYT’s….
    ” This is the bipartisan panel that Congress mandated last spring to investigate the still murky story of what happened in the meltdown. Phil Angelides, the former California treasurer who is the inquiry’s chairman, told me in interviews late last year that he has been busy deploying a tough investigative staff and will not allow the proceedings to devolve into a typical blue-ribbon Beltway exercise in toothless bloviation.
    He wants to examine the financial sector’s “greed, stupidity, hubris and outright corruption” — from traders on the ground to the board room. “It’s important that we deliver new information,” he said. “We can’t just rehash what we’ve known to date.” He understands that if he fails to make news or to tell the story in a way that is comprehensible and compelling enough to arouse Americans to demand action, Wall Street and Washington will both keep moving on, unchallenged and unchastened.
    Angelides gets it. But he has a tough act to follow: Ferdinand Pecora, the legendary prosecutor who served as chief counsel to the Senate committee that investigated the 1929 crash as F.D.R. took office. Pecora was a master of detail and drama. He riveted America even without the aid of television. His investigation led to indictments, jail sentences and, ultimately, key New Deal reforms — the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Glass-Steagall Act, designed to prevent the formation of banks too big to fail.”
    Heheh..who really thinks our totally corrupted congress is going to allow their WS and Corp masters and benefactors to be prevented from furthering cannibalizing the USA, much less punish them for it.
    I am definitely going to watch this…the politicans will squeal,oink and huff and puff for the c-span public…and then do…NOTHING.

    Reply

  41. David says:

    Where is Barney Fife when we need him?
    Paper bags over people’s heads seems to me to be more the order of the hyperventilated day.

    Reply

  42. Sarcasium says:

    OMG! Thank you SO much! I LOVE that store! 😉

    Reply

  43. questions says:

    I’m workin’ on “man hat on” and its many possible meanings! Alfie and L’il Bob — priceless!

    Reply

  44. DonS says:

    I think you paid way too much.

    Reply

  45. Paul Norheim says:

    I want one!

    Reply

  46. ... says:

    ot – article from the nation
    Imposing Middle East Peace
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100125/siegman

    Reply

  47. Linda says:

    Steve,
    Need to work on your Yiddish transliterations. The most common spelling is “tchochke.”
    However, as Wiki says, “A variety of spellings exist for the English usage of the term, e.g. tshotshke, tshatshke, tchachke, chachke, or chochke, because there is no standardized transliteration.”
    You probably should get a copy of “The Joy of Yiddish” by Leo Rosen.
    Savin’ sounds like a good idea as we’re been spendin’ and spendin’ and not makin’ much progress.

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