[lit-ideas] Re: Ideology vs Experience

  • From: "Lawrence Helm" <lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 18:15:15 -0700

Simon

 

I was so appalled at the ignorance of the first part of your message that I
neglected the ignorance in the rest of it.  

 

You seem unable to grasp the difference between a hypothesis (advancing a
theory of what the future will consist of) and current diplomatic demands.
I suspect many on the Lit-Ideas Left of not being able to read my entire
messages, but maybe it is worse than that with you.  Maybe you can't follow
an extended argument.  I don't know how else to account for the silly thing
you wrote in your paragraph that begins "As for Pakistan. . . "

 

Of course if you have neither read nor understood my previous posts on this
subject, you won't understand this one either, nevertheless -- since you
have my attention -- you need to see that there are two very different
matters:

 

1.      The theory that Liberal Democracy is the End of History was
developed by Fukuyama and has a certain degree of currency at the present
time.  It is opposed by Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilization thesis.
These are theories.  Neither of them is proved.  It would be nice if all
nations were Liberal Democracies, but that is not presently the case.  

 

2.      In the meantime we must deal with the world as it is.  Not all
nations are presently Liberal Democracies.  Pakistan is not a Liberal
Democracy.  We know that.  Everyone knows that.  We must deal with Pakistan
as it exists, not as we would like it to be.  

 

Beyond that I didn't apologize for Pakistan.  You are making that up.  Did
you think I wouldn't notice?  I suppose this is another case of your not
reading my note and just guessing as to what I was going to say.  I'm very
familiar with that approach.  But anyone wishing to can see what I actually
said, two notes below this one, and see that you are either lying or as I
believe guessing because you can't bear to read my notes.

 

The world is not made up of Liberal Democracies.  Perhaps one day it will
be, or perhaps not.  In the meantime we must on occasion exercise
realpolitik, in other words deal with nations we don't like but can't
change.  Listen to Irene, she is urging us to use realpolitik with Iran:
getting Bush to sit down with Ahmadinejad over a cup of coffee and having a
heart to heart.

 

And then you conclude with the belief that I will be speechless as a result
of your brilliant analyses: [     ]  

 

Lawrence

 

  _____  

From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Simon Ward
Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 9:43 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Ideology vs Experience

 

So the dead in the London bombings is mere anecdotal evidence. Or is just
that they weren't Americans and so didn't matter. And that's to say nothing
of the thousands that are dead in Iraq and those from Madrid.

 

I didn't think you were that heartless Lawrence. Is it a case of my country
and no other?

 

"What do oil interests have to do with Iraq?"

 

Priceless! I'll bring this out again I'm sure.

 

As for Pakistan, it exposes the hypocracy. In some messages you're shouting
about the importance of liberal democracy, and in the next you're
apologising for Pakistan, a military dicatorship. If it was all about
democracy and terrorism, Pakistan would have been close behind Afghanistan
on Bush's list. But no, suddenly, Bush is happy to have a dictatoriship on
his side, one that has harboured the same terrorist organisation that it
claims to be responsible for 9/11. And within it a security organisation
that was shown to have cabled Atta money before 9/11. 

 

I can hear Lawrence now: 'you know I'm tired of this conversation. I think
I'll leave it.'

 

Simon

----- Original Message ----- 

From: Lawrence <mailto:lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>  Helm 

To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 5:01 PM

Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Ideology vs Experience

 

Simon, Simon, Simon.  Didn't you know that anecdotal evidence is the weakest
kind?  Allow me to illustrate:  The War in Iraq has decreased terrorism.
How do I know?  Well just look at the facts.  The US was attacked how many
times before Iraq?  Lots of times.  There was the Cole.  There were 241
Marines killed in Beirut.  There was the first World Trade Center bombing in
1993 and then the second that killed about 3000, but then we had the war in
Iraq and zip.  Not one attack against the US; so it is pretty obvious that
the war in Iraq has decreased terrorism.

 

The rest of your note is a bit incoherent.  What do "oil interests" have to
do with Iraq?  American oil interests?  What are you talking about?  We get
only a small percentage of our oil from the Middle East.  I think you are
remembering one of the earliest Leftist taunts; subsequently given up by
most Leftists because it is so absurd.  

 

As to Pakistan, time passes.  We needed cooperation in chasing Al Queda
because Pakistan ISI agents reported that Al Quaeda had two suitcase bombs;
so we threatened to bomb them into the Stone Age using Armitage and giving
the president deniability.  But Musharaff picked his time, a time when it
wasn't possible for the US to bomb Pakistan into the Stone Age, a time when
Bush seemed to be on the defensive in regard to the war against Militant
Islam and blew the whistle: "do you know what Armitage told us?  He said he
would bomb us into the Stone Age."

 

"What," Bush said.  "Nonsense.  Not me."

 

And so Musharaff exposes the threat and makes it difficult for the US to
initiate military action in Pakistan; which it has considered doing if it
knew exactly where Osama was.

 

I don't know how the subsequent meetings between Musharaff and Karzai went.
Musharaff has problems at home: lots of support there for the Taliban and
Militant Islam.  I think the recent meetings were a good thing if they
didn't make things worse between Musharaff and Karzai.  Both nations have
problems, but they aren't out of hand.  Karzai continues to need direct US
support.  Musharaff doesn't want US troops storming into Pakistan going
after Al Quaeda strong holds.  India is laughing.

 

Lawrence

 


  _____  


From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Simon Ward
Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 4:58 AM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Ideology vs Experience

 

It's not just the extremists in the middle east that are the problem. It's
also the home grown ones. How do I know there are more extremists. Because
they blew up trains in London and Madrid and because I've heard interviews
with muslims in Britain who cite the Iraq war as a major contributing factor
in the formation of their views. 

 

And yes, there are moderate muslims all over the world. They're the ones
trying to explain that the extremists don't represent Islam, they're the
ones saying how they never knew that their friend was involved. But they're
also the same ones pointing at Iraq and saying how they understand why this
is going on.

 

Whilst I can believe that there were undisclosed reason why the US went into
Iraq, I can't believe that if they hadn't been there, the decision wouldn't
have been made. And if there are reasons such as Saudi cooperation, isn't it
reasonable that there are reasons such as oil markets. As for Pakistan, one
of the people recently arrested in the UK decided to stop giving evidence in
court because the ISI were threatening his family. Work that one through and
then tell me that Pakistan is cooperating.

 

Simon

 

 

----- Original Message ----- 

From: Lawrence <mailto:lawrencehelm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>  Helm 

To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 

Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 1:56 AM

Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Ideology vs Experience

 

Assertions are cheap.  They don't cost anything and if there isn't a hint of
rationale, they mean less.  In one of my previous notes I described how
difficult it was to get information about whether there were some, many, or
no moderates in the Middle East, but you have no trouble in asserting that
Iraq has increased the number of Islamists in the Middle East.  Upon what do
you base this assertion of yours?

 

I see you are assuming the existence of moderates in the Middle East.  Do
you have any evidence that they exist?  Quote me one moderate writer writing
from within the Middle East.  If you can, you'll be one up on Omar.

 

That the war in Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 is simplistic.  The same
person who told us we threatened to bomb Pakistan into the stone age (I
reported this while reading America's Secret War, by George Friedman in
January 2005) reported that going into Iraq was absolutely necessary if we
wanted to get cooperation from the Saudi's in our pursuit of Al Quaeda
members.  At the time the Saudis would not cooperate with us because they
were more afraid of Saddam than they were of us.  Saddam's story was that he
had backed down the US so everyone in the vicinity needed to forget about
the US and pay attention to him.  After we went into Iraq we got cooperation
from the Saudi's.  At the time it was believed (Friedman is the source for
this also) that Al Quaeda had two suitcase bombs; so cooperation in tracking
down Al Quaeda members was not considered an option.  That wasn't the only
reason we went into Iraq, there were many reasons, but it was an important
reason not mentioned; just as we never mentioned we got the cooperation we
wanted from Pakistan by threatening to bomb them into the stone age.

 

Lawrence

 


  _____  


From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]
On Behalf Of Simon Ward
Sent: Thursday, September 28, 2006 4:50 PM
To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Ideology vs Experience

 

Lawrence, my assertion is a simple one. The war in Iraq has caused moderate
muslims to be attracted to fundamentalist ideology. Because of the war
(which, it should be noted, had nothing to do with 9/11), there are now more
fundamentalist muslims than there were before. Because of the war in Iraq,
people died in Madrid and London. 

 

Now, you'll be blaming Qutb for coming up with the ideology, but of course,
the moderates wouldn't be interested in it without them perceiving western
wrong-doing. 

 

Do you accept that the war in Iraq has created more fundamentlists than
there were before? 

 

Simon

 

 

 

 

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