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Hamlette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 12:44 PM
Original message
Head-in-the-Sand Liberals by Sam Harris
Perhaps I should establish my liberal bone fides at the outset. I'd like to see taxes raised on the wealthy, drugs decriminalized and homosexuals free to marry. I also think that the Bush administration deserves most of the criticism it has received in the last six years especially with respect to its waging of the war in Iraq, its scuttling of science and its fiscal irresponsibility.

***

The truth is that there is every reason to believe that a terrifying number of the world's Muslims now view all political and moral questions in terms of their affiliation with Islam. This leads them to rally to the cause of other Muslims no matter how sociopathic their behavior. This benighted religious solidarity may be the greatest problem facing civilization and yet it is regularly misconstrued, ignored or obfuscated by liberals.

Given the mendacity and shocking incompetence of the Bush administration especially its mishandling of the war in Iraq liberals can find much to lament in the conservative approach to fighting the war on terror. Unfortunately, liberals hate the current administration with such fury that they regularly fail to acknowledge just how dangerous and depraved our enemies in the Muslim world are.

***

Increasingly, Americans will come to believe that the only people hard-headed enough to fight the religious lunatics of the Muslim world are the religious lunatics of the West. Indeed, it is telling that the people who speak with the greatest moral clarity about the current wars in the Middle East are members of the Christian right, whose infatuation with biblical prophecy is nearly as troubling as the ideology of our enemies. Religious dogmatism is now playing both sides of the board in a very dangerous game.

While liberals should be the ones pointing the way beyond this Iron Age madness, they are rendering themselves increasingly irrelevant. Being generally reasonable and tolerant of diversity, liberals should be especially sensitive to the dangers of religious literalism. But they aren't.

end quote

You're not going to like this, but you should read it. Sam Harris is a liberal, thoughtful guy. This goes hand in hand with the thinking that only liberals can address terrorism. But we better do it.

Also, read Looming Tower. This Islamic movement did NOT start as a response to America. It had NOTHING to do with it. Nor was it about Israel. It was about a hatred of rational thought. Think about that for a minute. These people are fuled by their hatred of rational thought. Or, and they want to kill anyone who doesn't hate rational thought. They don't care about the poor. This is not because we have treated the Middle East badly. Like everything else, it might now be how they motivate the troops, but the leaders of this movement see it differently. It is modernity, rational thought, democracy, mixing of the sexes, secularism, and anything that is not direct subjugation to the rule of Islam (the people running it that is).

Karen Armstrong has also been saying this for some time. She has been very worried about the rise of fundamentalism and what it will mean for the world. When people in Denmark can legitimately fear for their lives because of cartoons for gawds sake, we've got a problem and we better start to talk about it or we will become irrelevant.
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OneBlueSky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
1. is there more to this? . . . got a link? . . . n/t
.
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Hamlette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 01:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Ack, sorry, here's the link
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
3. Thanks.
He's making some damn good points.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. He always does. n/t
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. He's making huge broadbrush smears against 'liberals'
Edited on Mon Sep-18-06 01:52 PM by muriel_volestrangler
For instance:

But my correspondence with liberals has convinced me that liberalism has grown dangerously out of touch with the realities of our world specifically with what devout Muslims actually believe about the West, about paradise and about the ultimate ascendance of their faith.

On questions of national security, I am now as wary of my fellow liberals as I am of the religious demagogues on the Christian right.

This may seem like frank acquiescence to the charge that "liberals are soft on terrorism." It is, and they are.
...
In their analyses of U.S. and Israeli foreign policy, liberals can be relied on to overlook the most basic moral distinctions.


You might find some liberals like that, but it is not a basic characteristic of us. Yet most of his article paints all liberals as the same - oblivious to any danger, and hating America.

And the following is, frankly, complete bollocks, and really puts Harris into the "raving nutter" category, in my opinion:

The people who speak most sensibly about the threat that Islam poses to Europe are actually fascists.


European fascists are still fascists - hateful bigots who would cheerfully kill large amounts of people because of perceived differences of race, ethnicity, remove their citizenship, deport them, and lock people up for political reasons. To think these people are speaking 'sensibly' it to show he hasn't got a fucking clue.

So, which points can you think are 'damn good'?
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 01:14 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. He is a liberal.
"So, which points can you think are 'damn good'?"

Every paragraph you didn't quote.

Here's a few:

Given the degree to which religious ideas are still sheltered from criticism in every society, it is actually possible for a person to have the economic and intellectual resources to build a nuclear bomb and to believe that he will get 72 virgins in paradise. And yet, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, liberals continue to imagine that Muslim terrorism springs from economic despair, lack of education and American militarism.

At its most extreme, liberal denial has found expression in a growing subculture of conspiracy theorists who believe that the atrocities of 9/11 were orchestrated by our own government. A nationwide poll conducted by the Scripps Survey Research Center at Ohio University found that more than a third of Americans suspect that the federal government "assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East;" 16% believe that the twin towers collapsed not because fully-fueled passenger jets smashed into them but because agents of the Bush administration had secretly rigged them to explode.

Such an astonishing eruption of masochistic unreason could well mark the decline of liberalism, if not the decline of Western civilization. There are books, films and conferences organized around this phantasmagoria, and they offer an unusually clear view of the debilitating dogma that lurks at the heart of liberalism: Western power is utterly malevolent, while the powerless people of the Earth can be counted on to embrace reason and tolerance, if only given sufficient economic opportunities.
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 01:56 AM
Response to Reply #15
18. those are not very good points, IMO
First: "Given the degree to which religious ideas are still sheltered from criticism in every society, it is actually possible for a person to have the economic and intellectual resources to build a nuclear bomb and to believe that he will get 72 virgins in paradise. And yet, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, liberals continue to imagine that Muslim terrorism springs from economic despair, lack of education and American militarism."

It is pretty tanjed hard for a PERSON to have the economic and intellectual resources to build a nuclear bomb. A society can have those resources, and yet that same society can have a large strain of economic despair, lack of education and anger at American militarism. Although lack of education is not so much of a key as lack of a 'non-ideological' education.

Second: "Such an astonishing eruption of masochistic unreason could well mark the decline of liberalism, if not the decline of Western civilization."

Pretty hyperbolic there. Instead of giving a rational argument against LIHOP, he dismisses it as "an astonishing eruption of masochistic unreason" and then makes the leap from that to "the decline of Western civilization".

"Phantasmagoria" and "debilitating dogma that lurks at the heart of liberalism". That's some fancy prose there but also seems to me that he is trying to prove his point by name calling. Can he cite some sources that show that this "dogma" is at the heart of liberalism or is that supposed to be obvious? Can he prove that this postulate (that Western power is not as benign as advertised) is false and is believed dogmatically? Can he prove that it is 'debilitating'? Or does he just like to create clever alliterative aspersions instead of making logical arguments?
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 06:58 AM
Response to Reply #18
38. LIHOP is like Creationism
It's clearly absurd, its proponents are never going to be converted by reason, it tarnishes the entire political movement associated with it, and arguing with it only gives it oxygen.

I think he's wrong that it could mark the decline of liberalism, but it's certainly a hindrance to its advance.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 04:00 AM
Response to Reply #15
28. As pointed out above, it's countries that build nuclear bombs
If he's saying that no-one who working on a scientific project with such a deadly result should be religious, then it's not just liberals he's arguing against - no conservative in the USA would say you could ban Christians from nuclear bomb work.

He conflates belief in 9/11 conspiracy theories with being liberal. But many of the major websites pushing those theories are anything but liberal - people like Alex Jones. Many of them blame "the Jews". Again, that's not liberals doing that. But Harris, without evidence, assigns this to liberalism.

That final paragraph you quote is exactly what's wrong with his piece. You think it's good? Get a grip. He claims that, at the heart of liberalism, is the belief that "Western power is utterly malevolent". That's not the view of a liberal. How on earth can you think that's right? Is that what you yourself believe? I think not, but I think you are a liberal. But Harris, despite his protestations, isn't.
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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 07:57 AM
Response to Reply #28
40. Why I'd like to strangle that guy....
... but as a peace loving LIBERAL, I won't.

What a bunch of BS this op is foisting on us, eh? Claiming we should gear up to fight the Muslims. Hell, if we just quit going into their countries with our militaries, we'd all get along just fine. But we don't, do we?

No, we are constantly sending troops to their lands, along with missiles, bombs, and bullets. No wonder they are pissed! Hell, we'd be pissed too if they did that to us!

This fellow, Harris, ain't no LIBERAL, he's nothing but a warmongering, bs artist.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #28
46. "it's not just liberals he's arguing against"
Liberals are definitely not the main target in the piece, and aren't even what he's arguing against. He's not arguing against liberalism in the least, he's trying to administer a shot in the arm, a wake up call against the liberal tendency for cultural relativism which can paradoxically lead some to blind acceptance of a different culture and faith though that other culture or faith is diametrically opposed to liberalism.

Having spent a lot of time in the September 11 Forum here, I think I may know some of the head-in-the-sand liberals Harris is talking about. They don't know the first thing about fundamentalist theology and even go so far as to deny that terrorism does not exist. They believe most every high profile terrorist act on record was actually a false-flag government operation. On one hand, they think believing our government masterminded 9/11 is the sign of being a "true" liberal, and on the other they believe "a ragtag bunch of Arabs in a cave" aren't smart enough to have pulled off 9/11 - a pov with very racist undertones, conscious or not.

I think the most important point is that Harris isn't arguing against liberalism.
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Duppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 02:46 AM
Response to Reply #3
21. I agree! nt
-
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
4. Since when are liberals denying the threat and where?
Because we believe the constitution should remain intact, don't condone torture, or are against pre-emptive wars sold on lies?
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Hamlette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 02:02 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. because we are against all those things, the right has defined us
as having our head in the sand.

We need to be more clear that we DO see Islamic fundamentalism as a real threat but that it should be fought as a police action, not an invasion.

(I see here on this board sometimes people say it is not a threat, it is all propaganda. This is stupid and dangerous. Also, there is an argument that the another way to counter fundamentalism is by example. For instance, I heard that fundamentalist terrorism and hatred of America and the West in Indonsia is down and they say it is because the West, including America, helped them after the Tsunami. We showed by good example that democracy and modernity is not all bad.)
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. So that would mean that his liberal stereotype is right after all
wouldn't it? If hatred is down where Muslims see the USA being a good global citizen, wouldn't that prove this paragraph of yours in the OP to be wrong?

It was about a hatred of rational thought. Think about that for a minute. These people are fuled by their hatred of rational thought. Or, and they want to kill anyone who doesn't hate rational thought. They don't care about the poor. This is not because we have treated the Middle East badly. Like everything else, it might now be how they motivate the troops, but the leaders of this movement see it differently. It is modernity, rational thought, democracy, mixing of the sexes, secularism, and anything that is not direct subjugation to the rule of Islam (the people running it that is).
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Hamlette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. I'm sorry. I was not clear. Not all Muslims are fundamentalist.
I was only talking about fundamentalists. That is where the suicide bombers are coming from. Not "mainstream" Islam.

We have to do both. Be good global citizens and conduct a police action against the criminals.
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Duppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 03:12 AM
Response to Reply #11
25. well said, Hamlette
:)
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Duppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 03:55 AM
Response to Reply #4
27. uh?
Edited on Tue Sep-19-06 04:38 AM by Duppers
"Because we believe the constitution should remain intact, don't condone torture, or are against pre-emptive wars sold on lies?"

Harris neither implied or said that the constitution should not remain intact or that we should torture and is he advocating pre-emptive wars? You're twisting his meaning. From one extreme position to another. However, must we gloss over the fact that fundamentalist Muslims are dangerous? (And please DON'T accuse me of advocating war.)

Last week I heard Christiane Amanpour state that bin Laden was still very relevant and deadly and that he has a religious approval for 10 million deaths! Yet when I did a search here on DU, I could not find one word of this.

>>
That is why the movement and the man who inspires it remain so deadly relevant. Many will claim that hidden, bin Laden is not such a commanding figure, his power and aura vastly diminished. Yet that's not what his followers and admirers say. They believe that he leads a war between Islam and the West.

Michael Scheuer, who once headed the CIA's bin Laden unit, says bin Laden has been given permission by a young cleric in Saudi Arabia authorizing al Qaeda to "use nuclear weapons against the United States ... capping the casualties at 10 million."
>>

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/08/22/amanpour.binladen/index.html


And before you trash me personally, you should know that I had long-term relationship with a Muslim, (fr. Turkey) many yrs. ago. Years later in a ph. conversation in '91, he said something shocking, something that terrified me about killing Jews. This man was a college-educated, reasonable person, I thought, and not a fundamentalist. But he became bitter after attending a mosque here in the mid-west in the late 80's and apparently came to blindly hate Jews. Of course I've not spoken to him since.

Something else you should know is that I'm an atheist -- I am not here to promote any christian position. I'm only advocating objectivity!

I do disagree with Harris on this point: "This is not because we have treated the Middle East badly." The US has indeed supported dictators in the ME who have suppressed the wishes of their population. That is, IMO, treating the ME "badly." This is definitely NOT ALL about religion, as most wingers and some lib atheists would like to think it is. The conflict with the Muslim culture is very complex, but to say that many Muslims are not religious fundamentalists who want to stamp out any hint of any other religion in their culture and do harm to anyone who interjects western values into their culture is being very naive. And some libs are naive, I'm sorry to say. But please do not misconstrue, I am very much against the Iraq war and I hate Geo. W. bush with a passion. I just see complexities where others are single-minded.





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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 04:02 AM
Response to Reply #27
29. Harris does, elsewhere, advocate torture
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sam-harris/in-defense-of-torture_b_8993.html

Another reason to question his self-identification as a 'liberal'.
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Duppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 04:27 AM
Response to Reply #29
33. oh jesus! my apologies! I stand corrected on that fact.
I am very disappointed in the man. Many thanks for enlightening me, muriel.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 10:17 AM
Response to Reply #29
47. That's a bit misleading, muriel.
When that article was first discussed in this forum it was very controversial, but I think most was knee-jerk reaction to the word "torture". In no way did Harris condone the torture that our government has been behind during our invasion of the Mid-East. He was trying to analyse an ethical dilemma which he carefully framed, not defend waterboarding or other violent torture.

There is no question that Abu Ghraib was a travesty, and there is no question that it has done our country lasting harm. Indeed, the Abu Ghraib scandal may be one of the costliest foreign policy blunders to occur in the last century, given the degree to which it simultaneously inflamed the Muslim world and eroded the sympathies of our democratic allies. While we hold the moral high ground in our war on terror, we appear to hold it less and less. Our casual abuse of ordinary prisoners is largely responsible for this. Documented abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and elsewhere have now inspired legislation prohibiting "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of military prisoners. And yet, these developments do not shed much light on the ethics of torturing people like Osama bin Laden when we get them in custody.
___________________________________________________
Which way should the balance swing? Assuming that we want to maintain a coherent ethical position on these matters, this appears to be a circumstance of forced choice: if we are willing to drop bombs, or even risk that rifle rounds might go astray, we should be willing to torture a certain class of criminal suspects and military prisoners; if we are unwilling to torture, we should be unwilling to wage modern war.
___________________________________________________
To demonstrate just how abstract the torments of the tortured can be made to seem, we need only imagine an ideal torture pilla drug that would deliver both the instruments of torture and the instrument of their concealment. The action of the pill would be to produce transitory paralysis and transitory misery of a kind that no human being would willingly submit to a second time. Imagine how we torturers would feel if, after giving this pill to captive terrorists, each lay down for what appeared to be an hours nap only to arise and immediately confess everything he knows about the workings of his organization. Might we not be tempted to call it a truth pill in the end? No, there is no ethical difference to be found in how the suffering of the tortured or the collaterally damaged appears.


Reading the article in full won't cause everyone to agree with Harris, but it should provide the necessary nuance to the discussion.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #47
48. I think he does support the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
Opponents of torture will be quick to argue that confessions elicited by torture are notoriously unreliable. Given the foregoing, however, this objection seems to lack its usual force. Make these confessions as unreliable as you likethe chance that our interests will be advanced in any instance of torture need only equal the chance of such occasioned by the dropping of a single bomb. What was the chance that the dropping of bomb number 117 on Kandahar would effect the demise of Al Qaeda? It had to be pretty slim. Enter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: our most valuable capture in our war on terror. Here is a character who actually seems to have stepped out of a philosophers thought experiment. U.S. officials now believe that his was the hand that decapitated the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. Whether or not this is true, his membership in Al Qaeda more or less rules out his innocence in any important sense, and his rank in the organization suggests that his knowledge of planned atrocities must be extensive. The bomb has been ticking ever since September 11th, 2001. Given the damage we were willing to cause to the bodies and minds of innocent children in Afghanistan and Iraq, our disavowal of torture in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed seems perverse. If there is even one chance in a million that he will tell us something under torture that will lead to the further dismantling of Al Qaeda, it seems that we should use every means at our disposal to get him talking. (In fact, The New York Times has reported that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was tortured in a procedure known as water-boarding, despite our official disavowal of this practice.)


He says that since we can have a good sense that Khalid is guilty, it makes him a valid subject of torture by "every means at our disposal".
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #48
57. That's likely, I suppose.
I just don't want the context missed that Harris has set up.

Given the damage we were willing to cause to the bodies and minds of innocent children in Afghanistan and Iraq, our disavowal of torture in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed seems perverse.


Our military incursion into Afghanistan is, I think, fairly solidly supported by most liberals even though those liberals know that innocent lives were lost. It's that 'greater good' argument which Harris exploring.
If we had a choice between non-violent torture of one person and collateral damage of 2, 100, or 25,000 innocent lives to achieve an aim, wouldn't it be perverse to choose the latter?
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sufrommich Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #27
85. Great post!
I completely agree and wish I had your ability to put it so succinctly!:)
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Jim Sagle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 01:14 PM
Response to Original message
6. One cheer for Sam Harris.
Edited on Mon Sep-18-06 01:15 PM by Jim Sagle
One cheer because there really is a hard core of Islam believers who want to kill us and are unnappeasable, and some liberals are more ready to shout down this fact as Islamophobia than to face it.

ONLY one cheer because he inflates the menace tenfold. What's needed to fight terror and spread democracy is revival of militant secularism - a secularism that would not bash religious belief but would fight public religiosity without quarter.

Such a movement would attract billions of followers world-wide - unlike the current slogan, "kill an Islamofascist for Christofascism."
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Duppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 03:22 AM
Response to Reply #6
26. Hear, hear, Sagle!
I glad to hear your views expressed.
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DemExpat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 04:15 AM
Response to Reply #6
30. I also will support movements of national and global secularism.
This is the only answer that I can imagine.

DemEx
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 01:16 PM
Response to Original message
7. Islamic progressives are the biggest casualties in Bush's war.
He has managed to stir up such hatred for America in the Islamic world that the progressives there, and even the moderates, no longer have a voice that is listened to. They have become seen as collaborators with the west. Just as Bush uses the "you are with us or against us rhetoric" to back up his use of violence, the same is true for the Jihadists. He has effectively removed the middle ground so there is now no room for compromise or even discourse. His idiotic talk of "IslamoFascists" and the "Axis of Evil" has fed into the propaganda of the likes of Al-Queda.

The religious nationalists have an easy time portraying themselves as the only ones fighting the neo-Imperialism of the west thanks to the geniuses in the White House and Pentagon who like to believe that installing their idea of "democracy" at the point of a gun and killing thousands is what the people of the Middle East want.

What should have been a police matter has been transformed into a Holy War between the Right-wing Nationalists of this country and the Right-wing Religious Nationalists of the Muslim world.

Of course both sides are fighting for their version of the "Truth and the Light" while killing the ordinary citizens who would prefer to stay alive and do the things people do.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy. - Gandhi



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TheFriedPiper Donating Member (610 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 01:17 PM
Response to Original message
8. All religion is dangerous as it enables lunatics to manipulate
other lunatics.

Fundies of every stripe are very dangerous and only education will bring us together in the realization that 'god' is a metaphor and all religions are bogus.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #8
43. Agree. n/t
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warrens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 01:20 PM
Response to Original message
9. When you isolate, belittle, oppress, ridicule and occupy
It's kinda natural that your victim will develop a distaste for you and celebrate the actions of anyone who hurts you.
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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-18-06 03:56 PM
Response to Original message
14. BB (Before Bush), these radicals were a very small minority
9/11 marginalized them even more (though, I doubt it would have happened on Al Gore's watch...)

However, the egregious foreign policy actions of the neocons since they abandoned Afghanistan have caused the very small radical minority of Muslims to no longer be marginalized, and to cause their numbers to grow rapidly. I think the Senate report last week had Al-Qaida as more than doubling in size the past few years. Not to mention Hamas & Hezbollah becoming more "legit" in the Muslim world while Bush emboldens them by appeasing Al-Qaida.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 01:16 AM
Response to Original message
16. ?
This Islamic movement did NOT start as a response to America. It had NOTHING to do with it. Nor was it about Israel. It was about a hatred of rational thought. Think about that for a minute. These people are fuled by their hatred of rational thought. Or, and they want to kill anyone who doesn't hate rational thought.

:wtf:

Can I get a little rational thought in this thread?
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tom_paine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 01:27 AM
Response to Original message
17. A hatred of rational thought, eh?
Seems that the Muslim Fundamentalists and the Christian Fundamentalists are very damned similar...and I DO mean damned.

I maintain that Busheviks and al Qaeda supporters are two sides of the same coin, and all the world's people are caught in the middle while they have their little crusade/jihad/WWIII.

The only real loser is the Enlightenment, which is dying.
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 03:00 AM
Response to Reply #17
23. I totally agree with you.
Re >>Seems that the Muslim Fundamentalists and the Christian Fundamentalists are very damned similar...and I DO mean damned.

I maintain that Busheviks and al Qaeda supporters are two sides of the same coin, and all the world's people are caught in the middle while they have their little crusade/jihad/WWIII.<<

In fact I just posted something very much like that on another forum.

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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 01:59 AM
Response to Original message
19. Attacking and destroying other countries boosts fundamentalism
--and it works the same way here. After we were attacked, look at Bush approval ratings and the popularity of macho, fundie jingoist bullshit. Why in hell does anybody think that Muslims are any different in that respect?
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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 02:37 AM
Response to Original message
20. BS
IT's about the politics stupid!
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Duppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 04:25 AM
Response to Reply #20
32. dogma
And you're being as dogmatic as Harris. It's either all religion or all politics? Both positions are BS. Religion feeds the political culture in the ME, just as it does in this country, unfortunately. Pull your blinders off. The issues are complex.

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JCMach1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 06:36 AM
Response to Reply #32
37. Politics and religion are entwined, yes
But the reactions you see in the ME are almost solely political. Shift the politics and the religion takes care of itself.

Without a political solution, nothing is possible.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #37
62. "the reactions you see in the ME are almost solely political"?
That is an extreme statement, and I can't imagine how you can support it with any evidence.

"Shift the politics and the religion takes care of itself."

That one, too. Let me guess; you're religious, right?
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Duppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #37
65. one word
Edited on Tue Sep-19-06 02:37 PM by Duppers
Dear JCMach, I believe you are knowledgeable, but I've one word you seem to have forgotten:

THEOCRACIES!

They abound in the ME, as you well know.

But yes, the solutions still MUST be political, not a military ones. We both agree on that point. :)



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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #65
81. Nice point, but I'm not convinced of a political solution.
I think social change is the most trustworthy. Social evolution isn't based on programs, it's based on new vision. The patriarchal theocracies in the Mid-East don't need new programs(new laws), they need new vision.

Afterall, how good is politics without vision? ;)
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Duppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 03:49 PM
Response to Reply #81
84. dear
Edited on Wed Sep-20-06 04:05 PM by Duppers
The big question is how does "new vision" evolve in the ME?
It does seems that 'new programs' and 'new laws' in the '60's made an eventual difference in the attitudes of the southern U.S. regarding civil rights, right? And we oppose over-throwing the theocracies by force. And to quote myself above, they want to "do harm to anyone who interjects western values into their culture." How do we change theocracies under these circumstances? Reminds me of one of the 'how do you change a light bulb" jokes. :)

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tenshi816 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 07:10 AM
Response to Reply #32
39. That's a good point.
My experience with Muslims in Britain is that their religion is what they are: it defines them and, as you say, it feeds their political culture. Muslim politics are inseparable from their religion.

Just like the good 'ol homegrown Christian extremists in the States.
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Hardrada Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 02:53 AM
Response to Original message
22. WHO is "Sam Harris," pray tell?
The Islamic people are not my enemy and never will be. Not in my mind. War is not the answer.
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wickerwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 04:43 AM
Response to Reply #22
34. He wrote a book called "The End of Faith"
Edited on Tue Sep-19-06 04:46 AM by bezdomny
in which he studies the problems that rejection of reason in favor of belief (whether Christian, Muslim or Stalinist) can cause. He doesn't call Muslims "the enemy"- he simply points out that in as much as someone believes what's in the Quran to the exclusion of real life experience, that person will be a danger to peace-loving non-Muslims. In his book, he lists five pages of quotes calling for war with the infidels against one solitary quote about peace.

The Islamic people aren't my enemy but their ideas are f'cked up- especially when it comes to women and I applaud anyone with the guts to say so in this day and age.

So while I think Sam Harris is dead wrong about torture and a few other things, I think he has some profoundly insightful things to say about where faith leaves us.

He cites one example of a father who slit his own daughter's throat after she was raped and asked "Does this mean a Muslim father (to the extent that he believes his holy book) loves his child less than a secular father? Of course it does." Sorry- I'm paraphrasing, I don't have the book with me. He goes on to argue that there are different levels of moral development and that a culture that condones the killing of rape victims clearly is not quite ready for prime time.

While I hate the idea of cultural priviledge- how else do we address a system of beliefs where schoolgirls are sent back into a burning building because their hair wasn't covered?

Where I think Harris falls apart is what to do about it? You can't change someone's mind by bombing the shit out of them. It's the age old problem of how to get through to someone with their fingers stuck in their ears and both eyes closed. I agree with you that war isn't the answer. I think we need to get the hell out of the Middle East, stop buying oil from corrupt dictators and let them sort out their own problems. And although it breaks my heart to see women oppressed, it's not something that's in our power to change with conventional weaponry. I think we need to have a little more courage in our convictions. Rationalism won out over the Inquisition, over the witch hunts, over the Nazis, over Stalin and Mao... All it takes is enough people and the right people to say "enough already". And this is where I think you're right that we need to see Islamic people as our friends. Sam Harris isn't suggesting that we see them as enemies. He simply says we need to acknowledge that the ideas in the Quran include a lot of "soul-destroying rubbish" was I believe his phrase.
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VOX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 03:11 AM
Response to Original message
24. I'll bet that by mid-week, right-wing blogs will gleefully link to Harris.
I'm not buying Sam Harris' thin credentials as a self-described liberal -- he cranks up the fear of "Islamic fascism" as well as any Bush administration lackey. For a published author in theology and religious belief, Harris has a ludicrously simplistic, black-and-white perspective that will make him a darling of the right-wing blogosphere.

His stance is ripe fodder for right-wingers to hold up and say, "See? This guy says he's a **liberal**, and he gets it -- he knows that liberals are soft on terror! Islamic radicals want to kill, kill, kill! And liberals will let them! They'll follow us home from Iraq if we leave there (a Bush near-quote)! Etc., etc..."

Nor do I buy Harris' professed political scholarship His clich-ridden, two-dimensional portrait of the politically correct, out-of-touch liberal is straight from the Limbaugh playbook. Besides, when did liberals last have a voice in American government? The global mess we're in now is singularly a creation of the right.

If this country goes down the path that Harris hints at, there will be no avoiding religious and racial profiling, more illegal imprisonment and torture, and ultimately, concentration camps.

How distinctly un-American. :grr:
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wickerwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 04:55 AM
Response to Reply #24
35. I don't see it...
You should see what he has to say about Bush and the Christian right. I don't see them embracing him as a poster-child anytime in the near future. And if more conservatives read Sam Harris, so much the better.
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #24
44. Not even close. n/t
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VOX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #44
55. Really? See post 54 below: Limbaugh gleefully read passages, etc. n/ t
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 02:14 PM
Response to Reply #55
63. Limbaugh is a right-wing hog, not a blog.
Have you found any right-wing blogs that are linking to the article yet?
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #63
66. Let's take a look
Clayton's commentary on news and events of the day. Broadly speaking, I'm a conservative with libertarian sympathies
...
Sam Harris is a flaming liberal and opponent of all religious beliefs. This recent column in the Los Angeles Times makes a pretty good case that liberals are attempting to commit civilizational suicide:

http://www.claytoncramer.com/weblog/2006_09_17_archive.html#115868522087055259


This editorial is by Sam Harris, a critic of all theistic religion, whose recent book The End of Faith caused a stir despite its blatant caricatures of Christianity. Nevertheless, Harris sees that American liberalism is unable to discern the real threats we face from the jihadists. Despite my disagreements with his atheism and much of his morality, his chastisement of oblivious liberalism is a needed tonic. Coming from him, it may have more salience than if written by a Christian or non-Christian conservative.

http://theconstructivecurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2006/09/atheist-gets-it-on-islam-and.html


Scales Fall From One Liberal's Eyes

Sam Harris writes a piece that got by the Politburo at the Los Angeles Times. In "Head-in-the-Sand Liberals", Harris recognizes what his liberal bretheren with not acknowledge: radical Islam is a threat to civilization.

Jeff Gannon (hey, remember him?)
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VOX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 03:15 PM
Response to Reply #66
67. THANK YOU!!! Sometimes it's like pushing a rock uphill...
Thanks, m_v, for tracking down some RW blogs. :thumbsup:
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 04:12 PM
Response to Reply #67
70. Did you actually click on those links? nt
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Exiled in America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #70
74. Uh... I did.. what's your point?
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #74
75. I didn't ask you, but...
you'd know which one doesn't work, I guess, eh?
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Exiled in America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-21-06 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #75
86. they all worked for me .... ? ?
Did I miss one or something?
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-21-06 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #75
87. He seems to have changed the archive URL of the middle one
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 09:43 AM
Response to Reply #24
45. Talk about a black-and-white perspective
"The global mess we're in now is singularly a creation of the right."

That's a bit simplistic. No, the global mess we're in now is as a result of thousands of years of history. Right, left, men, women, big, small, tall, short, we're all part of it.
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VOX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #45
53. This gambit could be taken back to the Big Bang...
or whatever universe creation theory holds the most sway at the moment.

My mistake in using the phrase "global mess"; for discussion's sake, I should have narrowed the field to the Middle East.

And yes, as for the problems in that region, thousands of years worth of history could (and should, as some point) be examined.

But the current instability, the daily battle against military occupation and the causalities it brings, the volatility of the region -- this I lay squarely at the feet of the neocons.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #53
61. No it can't.
Don't forget that our culture began in the Fertile Crescent which is now known as Iraq.
It's obvious that the neocons are are only adding salt to wounds, but it is incredibly myopic to think that the problem started with them.
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magellan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 04:21 AM
Response to Original message
31. Forgive me if I don't worry incessantly about what bin Laden's up to.
For 5 solid years we've been subjected to hatred of rational thought from our own government. Seeing as this is my home, it gets most of my attention.
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Leopolds Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 05:32 AM
Response to Original message
36. Apparently this guy believes that "liberals" are people who
care primarily about gay marriage, drug decriminalization, and hostility to religious fervor. Other than that, they are just as willing to be ruthless as the Repubs... in his mind. What would Sam Harris do with the raised taxes? Restore the 1990s war-on-the-poor? Spend it all crusading around the world against "religious fervor"? Implement Bloomberg's and Giuliani's and Garvin's domestic policies nationwide, like a lot of so-called "liberals" want to do? Maybe if this guy understood a live-and-let-live attitude he would see the virtue in defusing threats tactically and peacefully, instead of sabre rattling like Giuliani, Hillary Clinton and other members of the global elite who feel threatened by Muslims.

And yes, there are plenty of hatemongers out there.
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T_i_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 12:42 PM
Response to Reply #36
50. I hate to say this
But judging by what I see on DU, from GD right through to the paid ads the left's adgenda these days really is gay marriage, drug decriminalization, and hostility to religious fervor as primary concerns and such concerns as helping the poor and needy are given an increasingly low priority by the left these days.

As to the article, no suprise whatsoever. I don't know why any of you lot would think that atheists are under any sort of obligation to be liberals anyway.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #50
64. Sadly, I agree.
The left has degenerated into obsessing over identity politics, social issues, and bashing Western Civilization. What happened to economic justice? this spring there was a thread where DUers were psting the things they would not comprimise on. I was hrrified when is was nearly all social issues, very few mentioned economic ones.
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sadiesworld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #64
73. Yet, when I go out in the real world and discuss politics
with friends, neighbors and strangers, they seem most interested in disappearing jobs, stagnant wages, unaffordable healthcare, and poverty in retirement (the Iraq war and the environment also come up on a regular basis).

So perhaps the "left" hasn't degenerated into obsessing over social issues so much as DU is not terribly representative of the left (or the public in general)?

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T_i_B Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #73
83. Unfortunatly...
The issues you mention are all too often very rarely mentioned by folk on the left. And that is something that goes deeper then what you see on DU.

So sadly I would have to say that yes, the left is not terribly representative of the public in general. We could be if we pulled our finger out and started to listen to the concerns that other people have about such matters as jobs, prices, taxes, healthcare and so on but regrettably, too few of us are willing to do that. Even over here, the left seems at times more interested in what is taught in biology classes in Kansas then on the problems facing our own friends, neighbours and collegues.
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #36
51. Why do you think that
economic justice and civil liberties are opposing causes?
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Finder Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 09:23 AM
Response to Original message
41. This thread proves his point. n/t
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VOX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #41
56. Care to flesh out that thought a bit? n/t
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
42. It's not a problem facing civilization
It's because of civilization that this problem can exist.
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
49. This Sam Harris character...
seems like the very type of person he's criticizing.
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Jed Dilligan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 12:50 PM
Response to Original message
52. "Terrifying numbers"
The man, "liberal" though he is, apparently went to the Karl Rove Institute of Statistix at Ronnie Raygun U...
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flpoljunkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 01:05 PM
Response to Original message
54. Predictably, Limbaugh gleefully read passages from this article yesterday.
Tell us which liberals, Mr. Harris,"regularly fail to acknowledge just how dangerous and depraved our enemies in the Muslim world are." I cannot think of a one, but I know who has failed to take seriously the threat of an Osama bin Laden still on the loose--and evidently protected by Pakistan's Musharraf--and that is George W. Bush!
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #54
58. ...and Limbaugh took it out of context like always, I'm sure.
Edited on Tue Sep-19-06 01:29 PM by greyl
Tell us which liberals, Mr. Harris,"regularly fail to acknowledge just how dangerous and depraved our enemies in the Muslim world are." I cannot think of a one,..


Look in the September 11 forum and the Israel Palestine forum and I'm sure you'll come across them.
The same ones will deny that Osama bin Laden is a threat or that he even exists.

When one of our chief issues/talking points is that osama hasn't been caught yet, what the hell do you tell someone who believes osama isn't real and that our government perpetrated 9/11?
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HiFructosePronSyrup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #58
59. LOL
Talk about taking things out of context.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #59
60. I don't get it. nt
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flpoljunkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #58
69. Statements like the one below are meant not to criticize, but to smear.
"Unless liberals realize that there are tens of millions of people in the Muslim world who are far scarier than Dick Cheney, they will be unable to protect civilization from its genuine enemies."

This is absurd on its face, and I can't help but think Sam Harris wells knows it.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #69
71. Smear who?
Edited on Tue Sep-19-06 04:15 PM by greyl
I can imagine why you think the statement is absurd on its face, but can you explain for clarity?
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flpoljunkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 08:14 PM
Response to Reply #71
76. Smear all Democrats.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 05:45 AM
Response to Reply #76
77. That's not a smear of Democrats in the least. nt
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flpoljunkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 07:33 AM
Response to Reply #77
78. That is your opinion of his article, not mine. His criticisms tar us all.
Edited on Wed Sep-20-06 07:34 AM by flpoljunkie
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 07:41 AM
Response to Reply #78
79. I asked if you could explain, and you haven't yet.
greyl: I can imagine why you think the statement is absurd on its face, but can you explain for clarity?

If you assume that the body of liberalism moves forward righteously by some mystic device without any soapboxing from its membership, you are mistaken. Harris is not criticizing liberalism, period.
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ContraBass Black Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 03:18 PM
Response to Original message
68. "Perhaps I should establish my liberal bone fides at the outset."
Followed by a string of the most obvious "I's a lib'rul!" tags and a sentence of QUALIFIED Bush criticism.


I won't honor those credentials.
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-19-06 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #68
72. How would you describe "liberal" in 20 words or less? nt
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leesa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 08:08 AM
Response to Original message
80. This is just crap. They hate us for our rational thought. Yeah right.
Whatever. Nevermind the rational bombs we drop on them and their families and the occupation of their lands and the stealing of their resources. Nevermind all that stuff...we don't REALLY do that because we're the GOOD GYS.

What utter BS.

They hate us for our FREEDOMS!!
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greyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-20-06 08:54 AM
Response to Reply #80
82. "They" sound a lot like the Pope for some unknown reason. nt
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stepnw1f Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-21-06 06:44 PM
Response to Original message
88. Flame Baiting
and dividing liberals in the Democratic Party. This is what's going on here. All throughout DU you can read it. Same people all the time.
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