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Friday, August 11, 2006

The Morning News

Posted by on August 11 at 6:20 AM

Flying: More miserable than ever—thanks, terrorfucks!

Liquid explosives: Uh… they’re kinda hard to detect. How long until we have to board naked?

Terror Intel: So who did the government have to torture to find out about the plot to blow up all those airplanes? Um, nobody.

American Muslims: They’re annoyed with Bush for his use of the phrase “Islamo fascists” to describe would-be plane bombers.

Israel: “To hell with Condi,” says Israel, “send rockets.”

Iraq: The chaos continues.

How Low Can He Go: Bush’s approval rating drops to 33%.

Something Else to Worry About: Killer Turtles.

Seattle Lesbians: They feel comfortable at ball games.

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I have to fly from the UK back to the US in just over a month. It will be interesting to see how check-in and security protocols have settled by then.

Dan, are you actually up and posting at 6:00 am, or are you on the East coast or something? I'm always bummed that Slog doesn't come alive till mid to late afternoon for me.

Maybe instead of Islamo facists, Bush should call them Terrorfucks. Much more accurate and fun to say. Think of all the great possibilities: "The war on Terrorfucks," "Department of Dealing with Terrorfucks," "The axis of Terrorfucks."

"They’re annoyed with Bush for his use of the phrase “Islamo fascists” to describe would-be plane bombers."

What I find odd about the complaint is that the terrorists themselves almost always explicitly associate their actions with Islam. Haq in Seattle ('terrorist' or not) was explicit that his actions were an outgrowth of Islam. Whether he has a distorted idea of what Islam "really is" is another question -- but he believed that he was acting from a religious impulse and identified himself as a Moslem.

A problem with the term "Islamo fascists", besides the fact that it probably insults and alienates a lot of moderate Muslims, is that researchers who have studied suicide bombers have concluded again and again that these terrorists are not motivated primarily by Islam. Yes, it needs to be recognized that these terrorists are Muslim, but understanding the root involves more than that.

On UK Channel 4 yesterday, in the coverage of the airlines plot, they interviewed a researcher who again put forth that conclusion that the vast majority of suicide bombers from the early 1980s to the present were motivated by political reasons such as foreign military presence on the Arabian peninsula. The interviewer asked a question that seemed aimed at whether or not the researcher had a sympathetic bias, and the researcher responded that he supported George W. Bush and the war on terror but that 'facts are fact.'

OMG Guys -- look on the bright side: we are closer to having to board the plane naked! How erotic would that be?

Would also make it easier to join the mile high club...


I am not famiiar with that research and I find it odd, particularly when Islam specifically seeks to create a seemless world in which religion and politics are one.

That's the whole issue with Sharia law in the west -- extreme jihadist Moslems want no separation between "State and Mosque," in our western framework and want their religious law to trump western secular law. So the idea that terrorists are acting out of "political" rather than "religious" motivations makes no sense to me as the two are one, for the extremists at least.

I take your point, Seattle Man, but I guess the thing to take away from these studies is that it is more than religious fervor. There are devout and passionate Muslims who do not advocate these acts. And since we badly need these moderate Muslims (e.g. the success of the UK sting was down to a Muslim informant), a term like 'islamo fascism' is alienating and incomplete.

Then what term do we call them? Something which avoids any reference to their motivations?

No I believe that they have named themselves by their continual insistence that Islam is an essential part of their actions. (They do that explicitly.)

Look, if there was a terrorist group which was Christian and explictly explained its actions against non-Christians as an expression of its Christian religion, wouldn't we call them Christo-Fascists or something like that? And moderate/liberal Christians would be furious at the terrorists for defaming the name of their religion...not angry at anyone else such as the non-Christian targets etc etc. No?

I am certainly not saying we should insult Islam but the reality is that Islam is in fact at the root of the actions of Al Quaeda etc etc by their own words. So shoudln't everyone face that fact and not obfuscate and be "nice" in typical Seattle fashion?

Hey, Miss Midwest: Have you been on an airplane lately? Most Americans are hard to look at with their clothes on—I don't want to be on a plane full of a naked Americans if I can help it.

Part of the problem with the phrase 'islamic fascism' is that it is easily misunderstood. It can be interpreted as 'we are at war with Islam, which is fascist' rather than 'we are at war with fascists who are Islamic'. I presume this is why organizations like CAIR object to it, because it sounds like equating two things.

Dan - maybe if they are forced to get naked everytime they get on a plane, Americans will start to lose weight!

just trying to be optimistic...

To put it another way, if you are Christian and hear someone say 'Man, I hate Christian idiots', you might not know if s/he thinks all Christians are idiots or just hates Christians who are idiots. You'd take it personally if you thought that person meant the former.

Lighten up Muslims, Bush is just trying to separate "their" brand of fascism from his own.

Then what term do we call them? Something which avoids any reference to their motivations?

How about War on Flight Inconvenience (WOFI)?

I think it'd be a funny publicity stunt for a bunch of people to show up at the airport with nothing but a valid ticket, passport and a speedo.

Seattle Man says - "That's the whole issue with Sharia law in the west -- extreme jihadist Moslems want no separation between "State and Mosque," in our western framework and want their religious law to trump western secular law."

So exactly like right wing Chirstians in this country? SO why are ChristianFacists not blowing themselves up? Because they have a different political reality then Islamofacists. Just as Gabriel is saying.

If our culture was dominated poitically and economically (and militarily) by Muslim countries, i don't think it's a stretch to assume our christian zealots would be driving nytro glycerine trucks into mosks. Hell, they have no problem blowing up clinics that do abortions.

Seatle Man also says - "Look, if there was a terrorist group which was Christian and explictly explained its actions against non-Christians as an expression of its Christian religion, wouldn't we call them Christo-Fascists or something like that? And moderate/liberal Christians would be furious at the terrorists for defaming the name of their religion...not angry at anyone else such as the non-Christian targets etc etc. No?"

Yeah rrrrrright.

The irony of W calling them Islamo facists is that he is the grand dragon of americas christian facists (there i said it, and christians won't be mad at me, they'll understand, right?). the struggle here is between theocratic and secular societies. The West largely did away with theocracy over the last couple hundred years (despite the Christian Coalitions efforts we are still a secular society), and in the middle east they are still fighting or have yet to fight that battle.

I think Gabriel's point is, take away the politics, and moslem suicide bombers don't exixst. the Islam is still there, but not the bombs. So the politics are the root of their actions, their religion is at most, a catalyst.

Thank God George W Bush is our president! I heard that our NSA and money tracking activities assisted the Brits in busting this plot.
I'm so relieved that Gore, Dean, or Kerry never made it into the Oval Office. They would have followed the head-in-the-sand "slippery soap" line, and where would we be today? Oh about 5 or 6 attacks since 9/11 and with an economy mired in a chronic recession caused by no releif in taxes.

"Islamo Fascists" is meant to be a hurtful phrase. When in America has the fascist anything label ever meant something kind and nurturing as opposed to spiteful and divisive? Maybe amongst Hitler supporters in the 30’s, but that was a long time ago. But after all, a war needs an enemy name that can be cursed on the battle field and around the home-fires, as it were. The puritans which support GW BUSH need to be reminded that the growing death count of local solider boys and girls killed in war are for a “noble” purpose, and that indeed, the “Commander-In-Chief”, the CEO President is sober, attentive and is in complete (and if GW BUSH’s had a wish, absolute) control.


How long until we have to board naked?
answer: about as long as it takes someone to drink a bottle of top shelf whisky bought at duty free that can't be brought onto the plane. use it or lose it, buddy.

I may be mistaken, but I have yet to hear any major Islamic organization condemn these terrorist, or any terrorist, for what they are doing, they seem to simply whine about semantics but say nothing to condemn terrorism If I'm wrong, would someone let me know.

whatever. five years of continual unending failures to protect America, heck if it weren't for Scotland Yard ...

notice how bush was on vacation - AGAIN!

Islamo-Fascists, Christian-Fascist, etc... They are all people with a fairy tale, supernatural view of the universe. I wonder why we never see any Astrology-Fascists or UFOlogy-Fascists or Scientology-Fascists. People killing other people and blowing shit up over some fictional book reflects poorly upon the human race.

But we DO have Christian fascists here, but no one dares call them that. At the most, they are called "fundamentalists", which is not an offensive word to many, at least in a Christian context.

The problem is not Islam. The problem is that ANY religion can be perverted for insidious uses. Especially a religion with no heirarchy.

The REAL problem is dictatorships that offer their people no opportunity and no education. It is in these environments of despair that perverted versions of religion take root.

And yes, the United States has enabled this by supporting these regimes. Part of this springs from the Cold War, but we did not reform our practices after the cold war ended, and that has had the result of us being an increased terrorist target.

I am not excusing terrorism, but offering an explanation of why it exists. Again, it's not a specific religion - it's poverty and lack of education, springing from corrupt governments.

Killing Gooks was for VietNam. In Iraq we call it slaughtering Hajis. In a war the enemy has to be subhuman.
Hajis is a derogatory term for the camping trip these Islamo terror fucks take to Mecca called the Hajj.

To help Israeli and American service men in slaughtering these terrorfucks, why not call them "Hajis Fucks"? Thanks Hajis Fucks for making me wait in line at the airport, hope you enjoy it when Israel drops a bomb on your wife and children!

Whatever we call these Hajis Fucks they all must die, and Israel is making America safer with each bomb we drop on Lebanon.

From the article:

"We ought to take advantage of these incidents to make sure that we do not start a religious war against Islam and Muslims."

You're about five years too late, buddy. The Christianists (Andrew Sullivan's term, not mine) already view this as a religious war. Guess who has disproportionate influence in the government?

...take away the politics, and moslem suicide bombers don't exixst.

I really have to disagree. Even if the U.S. immediately withdrew from Iraq, dismantled all military bases in the Middle East, and left Israel to get wiped off the map, I don't really see Islamic terrorism ending. There are many different motivations for terrorism, sometimes political. sometimes cultural, and sometimes millenarian. I'm inclined to think that Al Qaeda, and their ilk, are motivated by all three.'s poverty and lack of education, springing from corrupt governments.

I learned an interesting factoid last week. Apparently, most suicide bombers are better educated, and relatively wealthier, than most people from their home countries. Besides, if poverty were really such an important factor, Sub-Saharan Africans would be attacking us.

keshmeshi, just as not everyone is called to be a fighter pilot, not every terrorist or terrorist sympathizer is called to be a suicide bomber.

I have no idea how one goes along the road to becoming a suicide bomber, and I can't imagine why anyone would want to be a suicide bomber, but I suspect that it has something to do with connections - in that case, it would make more sense that the better educated, who are more able to "pass" in society, would be well represented.

Perhaps the reason why the better educated turn to suicide bombing is because they feel that, despite their advantages, they will always be an outsider, or they resent that they can't succeed at the level they feel they deserve to suceed because of prejudice against them.

History has been a series of the "have nots" rising up against the "haves", and either being brutally slaughtered, or suceeding in slaughtering the "haves". This is just another manifestation of that, in more racial/religious terms.

There's nothing new under the sun - particularly terrorism.

Keshmeshi -
When i said take away the politics, i didn't mean The united states leave now, i mean if they never were there in the first place. get it? The middle east is not a case of spontaneous muslim combustion. There are politics at the root of this violence. Religious ferver is just fuel for the fire, but not the source of it.

If it is a religious war, Israel will win. Judaism is the oldest religion and the most just. Christians are all idiots. American Jews are the best educated, most literate demographic in America and always fight for justice. Israel will win this war and a stronger Israel will bring peace.

Hajis Fucks is the best term Dan. These muslim terror fucks have to go to Mecca on their Hajj. But if America and Israel kills them before they make it. They're fucked.

I think No Easy Answers has some really good points, and I don't think Keshmeshi really dismantles them by pointing out that there are exceptions to every rule.

Poverty and lack of education can and often do lead to crime and war, and that is true in Africa even though they are not attacking us specifically.

Also, Al Qaeda would be substantially weakened if the region did not have political grievances to reinforce the religious fervor. It would not be completely absolved, but neither is the KKK; it would be an extremist group left out on the fringe.

While the term Islamo-fascist might apply to certain fanatics who are also muslim, it is too broad and therefore insulting to faithful muslims who aren't terrorists. This is really obvious. Bush is asshole in the diplomacy department as usual. Like when he declared the "axis of evil,"... Good one, no wonder the Iranian people reciprocated by electing a right-wing strong arm.

Will in Seattle: FYI - Blair was also on vacation at the time -- AGAIN!

American Jews always fight for justice. The enemy is subhuman. They all must die! Thanks Islamo terror fucks, thanks fucks, why not call them "Hajis Fucks"? Thanks Hajis Fucks. Jews are the best educated,
Christians are all idiots. Thanks fucks, Hajis fucks. Israel drops a bomb on your wife and children! Justice justice justice! Thanks fucks.

Islamofascists are not analogous to Christian fundamentalists. They're analogous to the Eric Robertses and Timmy McVeighs of our world, who have no support in ordinary fundamentalist circles. Our fundamentalists are analogous to the ordinary run-of-the-mill man-on-the-street Arab Muslim citizen. Virtually every Arab Muslim country is composed of and governed by religious conservatives, who are not terrorists but do believe and act in ways that disgust and horrify civilized persons in the West.

For example, almost every citizen of Arab Muslim countries believes that it is right and proper to kill homosexuals and drag their bodies through the streets. Most citizens of Arab Muslim countries believe that women are chattels, and that if a woman is raped she is the one who should be put to death. The vast majority of Arab Muslims believe that the Protocols of Zion are real and that the Holocaust never happened. And virtually every Arab Muslim believes absolutely that killing Israelis under any circumstances including suicide bombing whatsoever is a good thing.

To hear moderate Westerners nodding thei heads and saying "hmm, yes, well, of course they bomb, they're oppressed" is incredibly stupid and plays into the hands of Bush and co. Pretending that their isn't a critical problem of civilization in Arab Muslim countries is ridiculous. The so-called "moderate Arab Muslim" is almost extinct. Most of the ones that still exist live in Western countries, and are grateful for it. But even the Arab-Americans in Dearborn, MI hold views that should raise the hackles of your average Capitol Hill lefty.

Believing as I do that Bush has done more damage to the US in the "war on terror" than the terrorists have is not the same thing as believing that the war doesn't exist. Finding a way to bring modern civilization to Arab Muslim nations, with ideas, not war, is the only way we can challenge these bastards and change the societies that harbor them.

remember, after five years, there's still not 0.1 percent spent on port security - but there are illegal prostitution rings depending on bringing women on cargo containers into port cities and forcing them to work as prostitutes to "pay back" the suddenly increased "price" to "come to America".

don't think bin Laden hasn't noticed. He has.

oh, and thanks for pointing out both Blair and Bush were "on vacation" for this. guess they wanted to fly BEFORE they put all the airports in chaos - since they knew of the final plan a WEEK ago.

But Fnarf, don't you think the reason why so many Muslims believe the dumb things they do, and abide by these archaic laws (which are similar to how ours were in more primitive times) is because they are kept poor and stupid by their greedy leaders? People who are uneducated and desperate will cling to anything that explains their plight, and if that belief system is used to manipulate them, don't we need to look at the people doing the manipulation?

Certainly many Muslim leaders, either working in cahoots with government officials, have used Israel as a scapegoat to distract the populace from their own shortcomings and the injustices they commit against their people. How do we counteract that, or co-opt these leaders?

What it comes down to is this: Muslims make up a huge percentage of the population. We - including Israel - have to figure out a way to exist with them on the same planet. That does not mean capitulation to their terrorism or their societal expectations, but naked aggression alone won't cut it either - it just feeds their numbers.

We need to look beyond the religion, to who is interpreting the religion, and what their agenda is. It's too easy to write it off as a bunch of religious zealots.

Also, while I agree with you that all fundamentalists are not fascists, there are fundamentalists like Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell who have fascist tendencies, but would never be referred to as such by anyone in the mainstream. I don't believe that either the Fundamentalist or Evangelical movements themselves are fascist. That would be as dumb as saying all Muslims are fascist.

No Easy Answers: Yes, of course. Arab Muslims ARE oppressed -- by Arab Muslims. Not Israeli Jews or American Christians or American anything-elses. I don't know what the answer is: if you pull back and let the oppressors fall, as many of them instantly would without American support, you will immediately get jihadist government, a la Iran, which is even more oppressive.

Maybe the long term solution may be just that: permitting Iran-style theocracy, which will eventually be oppressive enough FROM THE OTHER DIRECTION that it instigates an liberal underground, which maybe can take over. But extrapolating from Iran, Muslim but not Arab, and a heavily industrialized country as well, to Arab Muslim countries, is rather unproven, to say the least. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is not stupid; they're not going to permit any kind of liberalism without a fight.

But simpleminded Westerners who fail to see that there IS a sickness in the heart of the Middle-Eastern Muslim mind, or who say things like "we have religious kooks too, look at Jerry Falwell" are a danger to us all. Imagine an Arab country where The Stranger would be allowed to print: there isn't one. And that's not coming from oppressive leaders; it's coming straight from the heart of the public.

It's easy to say "religion is a smokescreen" but it's much, much harder to find a way to clear the smoke once it's been laid down. Economic development is the only thing that works, but that's easier said than done -- especially in economies still based on a feudal sheikdom model. They still have SLAVES in some places, for chrissake.

I'm not claiming to be an expert, but this is how I've seen things:

The decline of moderate Islam in the Middle East has really happened since Bush's reaction to 911. Before that, the Middle East was actually opening up socially. Liberal values were gaining ground, especially in Iran. Iraq has tightened the leash on women since the war started there.

The Middle East has obviously never been a bastion of civil rights, but things were going in a better direction before the Iraq war.

I don't think they were. There's been a few little movements one way or the other, and, being pattern-seeking animals, we like to try to see trends there, but I don't think you can. The Bushies are just as wrong with their "Hark! Democracy Awakes!" every time a little dust shakes off the wall. There's a liberalization movement in Iran, for sure, and I think, based on nothing more than hope, really, that it's getting stronger. Or maybe we're just looking harder.

Stories like the one in the P-I about young women getting secret tattoos are fascinating, not because I'm a big fan of tattoos but because it shows how strong the rebellious spirit is -- it's one thing to get your nose pierced because mom will get really mad, it's quite another to get a tattoo upon pain of imprisonment or worse. Plus, tattoos for better or worse are body-conscious, and I really do believe that fear of the body is at the root of most Islamic panic. People who are comfortable with physicality and sexuality do not put people in jail for failing to cover up the genitals of their goats.

But it's also a mistake to think that the young Iranians who yearn to be free are budding liberal Democrats, either. Enlightened political thinking is probably impossible in such a place. But it's a positive sign.

I also think it's interesting that the liberalization of Iran we hear about most is a liberalization of WOMEN, because women are the big losers in religious fundamentalist societies.

Hey Savage! When are you going to give FNARF his column? Seriously.


Anyway, what I find fascinating is that Moslem protest takes such a violent form. If they want to protest Israel or the USA or gays or whatever that is of course their right.

But why do they have to do it so violently? Why don't they have any Mahatma Ghandi or Martin Luther King? Or Mandela, who btw was a champion boxer.

It seems to me that that is the interesting issue: why Moslem protest -- far more than any other religious or cultural group -- is so exclusively violent. So Haq's protest against Israel would have been quite OK -- except that he was following in the Moslem tradition of expressing his views violently. No, I am not anti-Moslem. But just name me one Moslem political action which is not or does not threaten violence. That's their way, except of course inthe USA to tghe extent they have become assimilated and follow traditions of non-violent protest.

So why is there no non-violent protest in the Moslem world? I am quite sure that if for example the Palestinians had followed Ghandian non-violence they would have had a state of their own years ago. Arafat had the model of Martin Lutrher King right in front of him. So why not?

Martin Lutrher King? You look like an idiot when you can't even spell names correctly.

And you look like an idiot, Captious, for making my mispelling the focus of your comment.

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