And the Winner Is ... Hamas!

The official results won't be announced until later today, but Hamas has declared victory in the Palestinian legislative elections, and the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia along with his entire cabinet suggests the outcome is not in dispute. Palestinians voted against the corruption of the late Yasser Arafat's Fatah party, though in so doing they voted for an organization known more for its involvement in terrorism than for its political experience.

That said, besides just voting against corruption, Palestinians were voting for a group that has made community improvement part of its mission, taking on projects like installing street lights and paving roads. That, unsurprisingly, won a fair bit of loyalty from Palestinians who for years had watched the chairman of the PLO live a life of relative luxury, while they couldn't so much as get a pothole filled.

Yaakov Katz reports that some Israeli army officers are saying Hamas has turned into a two-headed monster: "One head rejects Israel's existence and continues to assemble an army in the Gaza Strip while directing attacks against Israel. The second head is a politician, which has caused senior IDF officers to ask whether the military's longstanding policy of no contact with the group will change."

In a fascinating Live Online discussion yesterday, the Council on Foreign Relations' Rachel Bronson says Israel's "neighbors are nervous and they certainly don't like the precedent of a free and fair election bringing Hamas to power." One also wonders what Bush will do now -- remember, his administration wanted Palestinian leaders to keep Hamas out of the cabinet entirely. As of today, that's no longer an option. (However, the Jerusalem Post reports that Hamas expressed interest in a political partnership with Fatah.)

Over at Teambio.org, they're wondering why the Republicans aren't dancing with joy over these free elections. "Where IS all the rhetoric and show of support for our Democratic brethren in Palestine? Democracy must only be good when the 'right' people are elected."

Jerseymcjones writes in the comments:

Let's take a look back at another torn-up state of yore -- Ireland. It was the mainstreaming politization of the IRA through Sinn Fein that was the number one factor in the peace that we now have. By bringing Hamas into the mainstream political system, they just might find that they have to mature and behave if they are to be taken seriously. I think this is good news.

Blogger Matthew Harwood suggests the opposite: "Hamas may take their victory as evidence they now have a mandate and that the Palestinian people want the destruction of Israel. Let's hope they don't spend this political capital wildly."

Jerusalem Post columnist David Horovitz also thinks Hamas won't change:

Some may seek comfort in the belief that an ascent to government could prompt a greater sense of responsibility, a move to moderation. But Hamas's intolerance is based on a perceived religious imperative. No believing Muslim, in the Hamas conception, can be reconciled to Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East. To deny that, for Hamas, is blasphemy.

Debaters, what do you think? Is this Hamas's first step toward moderation -- or yet another dead end for the peace process?

By Emily Messner |  January 26, 2006; 8:22 AM ET  | Category:  Misc.
Previous: Osama Conspiracy Theories | Next: Three Major Views on Hamas Win

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



It's going to take more than our lifetime before Hamas (and other thug organizations) to reform. They don't work as a democracy (let alone as Republicans <-- as in the Roman type), so it'll take many years of behavioral modification before they get a clue that bombing, kidnapping, wishing genocide aren't civil or in society's best interst. Thus, this is just window dressing.

The skeptism is even more pronounced is when they don't denounce terrorism, but consider it a "civil right". When you kill your own people, then proclaim it's for "liberty", it's no different than what MacVeigh did (which in fact was terrorism).

Extremism, and especially the killing variety, needs to go the way of the dodo. A political avenue for a terrorist group isn't the solution though, it's just gives them political power to build yet another rogue state.

It's really difficult to trust killers, as they'll lie and don't have consciences (as killing kids takes a really cold blooded bastard, worse when they're your own relations).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 26, 2006 08:43 AM

It's going to take more than our lifetime before the GOP (and other thug organizations) to reform. They don't work as a Democracy, but a Theocracy, so it'll take many years of behavioral modification before they get a clue that "Smart" bombing, "Secret" kidnapping, wishing genocide aren't civil or in society's best interst. Thus, this is just window dressing. The skeptism is even more pronounced is when they don't denounce state terrorism, but consider it a Freedom. When you kill your own people (911), then proclaim it's for "liberty", it's no different than what George WMD Bush did (which in fact was terrorism).
Extremism, and especially the killing variety, needs to go the way of the dodo. A political avenue for a terrorist group isn't the solution though, it's just gives them political power to build yet another rogue state. It's really difficult to trust killers, as they'll lie and don't have consciences (as killing kids takes a really cold blooded bastard, worse when they're your own relations).

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/lies

Posted by: F THE ZIONISTS | January 26, 2006 09:41 AM

Unfortunatly extremism will never go the way of the dodo until human nature changes. Unabomber style nuts exist even in the kind of utopian libertarian world most of us fantasize of.

But when extremism becomes mainstream its time to start checking our premises. If we want to deal with this effectively we need to understand why this behavior seems rational to the mainstream people.

Many things contributed to the defusing of the IRA, but when some attention was paid to what the people (vs the extremists) really wanted, things got better. They didn't get everything the IRA wanted, but once they got enough the support for the terrorism dried up. Maybe there's a lesson there. Maybe people feel Hamas is the only one listening right now. Not the Jordanians, who should have taken them in 60 years ago, not Arafat's successors, who appear more intersted in the perks of government than the people, not the Israelis who are locked in this either/or struggle with them, not America who counts Jordan and Israel her allies, not the other ME countries who find the plight of the Palestinian people a convenient way to keep anti-Israeli sentiment whipped to a frenzy. It would seem not really anyone is on the side of the average Palestinian except Hamas. Maybe its time for someone else to start listening to them. People with good jobs and middle class incomes and roads and schools and water and power and bright futures are less likely to find Hamas rational.

As our troops slowly exit Iraq (but of course on our schedule that only coincidentally coincides with the November elections) the terrorists will need a new place to go. I expect they will go to Afghanistan, which is really only barely in our control. But my fear is that they will join forces with Hamas.

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 26, 2006 10:12 AM

zionist

Where do you cross the line between "patriotism' and "terrorism". As far as we were concerned the American Patriots were freedom fighters, to the Brits they were saboteurs and guerillas.

In my book the line is when you target innocent civilians and not military targets.

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 26, 2006 10:18 AM


Thanks to Bush/Cheney all the Muslims will become jihadists.

Posted by: candide | January 26, 2006 10:42 AM

Calling Hamas a thug or terrorist organization i.e. demonizing your oponent, may give you some psychic satisfaction, but it doesn't advance anything. Check out the The Stern Gang and The Hagana: two terrorist organizations by any objective standard. Democracy has spoken in Palestine. Now Israel and the United States have to deal realistically and responsibly with the consequences. You don't get to pick the other side if you are serious about negotiating an honourable and peaceful settlement. The obvious path for Hamas is to adopt the IRA model and establish a fig-leaf political wing.

Posted by: Eric Yendall | January 26, 2006 10:49 AM

This is democracy in an Islamic culture, period. We should applaud this moment. Correct me if I'm wrong but that was (and still might be) our illustrious leader's rationalization for invading Iraq. Instead of crapping on Hamas (which is all too easy and the traditional knee jerk reaction), we may want to take a step back and try to learn something here. This is a monumental accomplishment and perhaps a step toward legitmacy for Hamas. Almost every new form of "legitimate" government at one time was considered a terrorist organization by someone and ours is no exception. That also includes Isreal. I think we should view this as an opportunity and work with Hamas to make them a useful and contributing member of society. Really. Why not? Its not like what we've been doing so far is working out so well. It might be time to break the mold and show some progressive thinking.

Posted by: AS | January 26, 2006 10:58 AM

Hamas can now no longer hide behind a Fatah-led PA. It is the face of the PA now. What it tells the world about how they view the right to Israels existence, how they view the "Roadmap" to peace, whether they will continue to support and launch missiles and suicide bombers into Israel, etc., is going to have a profound effect on how the international community will conduct their relations with the PA. before, they could continue their terrorist activities and Fatah could claim, "look, we are trying to bring them under control but....etc., etc.". Now, they are the legitimate head of the PA, if they continue to launch attacks, international aid is going to dry up and Gaza is going to become even more of a hellhole. You can keep people going on hatred for only so long, but when everything starts falling down around your ears, the people will hold you accountable.

Posted by: D. | January 26, 2006 11:22 AM

D

The end must be near. The right and the left may finally have found something to agree about. :)

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 26, 2006 11:30 AM


Re: patriot1957's comment "Maybe its time for someone else to start listening to them. People with good jobs and middle class incomes and roads and schools and water and power and bright futures are less likely to find Hamas rational...". You may have conveniently forgotten that, post-Oslo, those trends WERE taking place in the Disputed Territories, perhaps more so in the West Bank than in Gaza. But, nonetheless, the interaction between the Israeli and Palestinian economies was beneficial to the Paletinian people. But that wasn't good enough for Arafat and Co., as well as for his internal rivals, such as Hamas. So bombings started to increase in the latter part of the 90's, and then a wholesale intifada was launched on the flimsiest of excuses. Israel, which kept its powder dry for months (even after Sharon was elected) was finally forced to act in earnest after the Sbarro Pizza bombing (which was after the Dolphinarium incident). Bottom line is that the Palestinians (government, people, whatever) did it to themselves. It was not a matter of "no one listening to them". Also, if that were the case, why did President Clinton invest an enormous amount of his personal resources and reputation to go after a final status agreeement in 2000? Plenty of people were listening to the Palestinians and trying to establish a path to a satisfactory resolution. But, if the only "satisfactory resolution" involves the dissolution or subjugation of the State of Israel (e.g. - by losing the population battle), then I guess the Palestinians will have to keep on living with the status quo indefinitely. Israel has plenty of reason to currently distrust a government run by Hamas. Just go ask the thousands of bombing and shooting victims why, if you don't understand. MAYBE, if Hamas totally transforms, AND carries out justice against its own criminals, in a TRANSPARENT MANNER, then Israel can pragmatically start to engage. In the meantime, Sharon's plan of disengagement should be completed.

Posted by: MMelnicoff | January 26, 2006 11:38 AM

Emily, what happened to the (Yikes!) after Hamas? That was a quick edit.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 26, 2006 11:41 AM

Oh, oh....And the edit was done without any change to the original timestamp (which should reflect editorial changes, or folks are going to scream of underhand editing).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 26, 2006 11:45 AM

patriot1957 - Well, I'll try and be optimistic but all in all, the Palestinians should now be judged by the choices they have made. If Hamas doesn't embrace the two-state solution and acknowledge the right of Israel to exist and continues to receive popular support, then I say to hell with them. Let Israel complete its wall.

Posted by: D. | January 26, 2006 12:04 PM

Debaters, what do you think? Is this Hamas's first step toward moderation -- or yet another dead end for the peace process?
By Emily Messner | January 26, 2006; 08:22 AM ET

It's hardly a dead end for the peace process. Hamas forming a political party and getting elected is legitimate; Hamas committing terrorism or other acts of military aggression is not. I wouldn't say this election was a first step for them... more like a second or third. The situation could easily be parlayed into more moderation from Hamas if the other players in the Roadmap play their cards right.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 26, 2006 01:30 PM

Emily, what happened to the (Yikes!) after Hamas? That was a quick edit.
SandyK
Posted by: SandyK | Jan 26, 2006 11:41:41 AM | Permalink

Oh, oh....And the edit was done without any change to the original timestamp (which should reflect editorial changes, or folks are going to scream of underhand editing).
SandyK
Posted by: SandyK | Jan 26, 2006 11:45:53 AM | Permalink

Sandy, how 'bout you stop bothering Emily during her vacation? Your desperate need for negative attention from her is glaring. Last time Emily put up a blog, you jumped the gun and obsessed about a t-shirt in a way that was completely out of context. Now this.
Give it a rest, at least until Emily gets back from her well-deserved vacation.

Posted by: ErrinF | January 26, 2006 01:38 PM

We should all be pleased. The Palestinian people have freely chosen who is to represent them in their form of legislature. What they shall decide is their business, not our business. Our opinion of this coming government's legitimacy just reflects our hubris. Their is no question that, in the eyes of the Palistinian people and in the eyes of a substantial majority of the world's states, this will be a legitimate government.

The Israeli people will shortly make their own choices. We don't yet know what choice that will be. To be so certain now of how each party will behave, seperately and together, to praise or condemn that, well .... if their is a God among us, I trust he is merely amused, and not angered.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 26, 2006 02:06 PM

Lets have a blog on conspiracy theories about underhanded editing. We could start with Emily, or we could start with MSNBC taking out the blurb on Christiane Amanpour getting bugged from the transcript. Or the fact that I can no longer find a single copy of the Luntz memo "Principles and Practice of Communicating the War in Iraq" anywhere on line, and copies of the environmental memo are getting harder to find.

Or not. How about not. I can't remember if I took my blood pressure medicine this morning or not and I'm not up to the aggravation....today.

But as far as listening, things did get a little quieter for a while when Clinton was listening in the late 90's. Hamas had a pretty quiet year between late 98 and 99. Now we could have a lively debate about whethor or not that was because Arafat/ the PLO was successful in suppressing them, or whether they had some ulterior motives about giving Arafat and Netanyhau just enough rope to hang themselves, or if they were assessing the climate at home, or whatever. But there was most certainly a lull in attacks at that time.

And, lest you decry my post because it praised Clinton, I think Bush has also had some positive influence there for a while. (Yes, I said something good about Bush and the sky didn't fall). Unfortunately neither influence seemed to last as hoped.

By going "legit" so to speak, Hamas has given up its ability to play both ends against the middle - that is getting double benefit out of their attacks by sticking it to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority at the same time. What they make of their government remains to be seen.

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 26, 2006 02:33 PM

Clumsiness of new "Osama" propaganda: sign of increasing Bush administration desperation
By Larry Chin
Online Journal Associate Editor


Jan 24, 2006, 22:20

Email this article
Printer friendly page

Exactly one year ago, in response to a previous bogus "Osama" transmission, I wrote: "Like previous productions, the tape was conveniently timed to reinforce and invigorate Washington's expanding war agenda, keep the populations of Western nations fearfully compliant and supportive of the Bush administration's 'war on terrorism,' further provoke anti-Western sentiment in the Middle East, and distract from exploding political and economic fault lines all over the world. Analysis of previous alleged Osama bin Laden videos, and other loudly-promoted 'terror tapes,' 'arrests' and 'trials,' have been exposed as propaganda, likely produced by operatives of the Bush administration. We can logically conclude that this work is more of the same.'

This latest production may be the clumsiest and most transparent fakery of them all. Today, with the Bush administration cornered and bleeding from scandals, in need of a distraction and cover for an atrocity in Pakistan, more justification for a future conquest of Iran, and facing Peak Oil and Gas-related collapse, it is a fine time for another wag, another attempt at the same old trick. But it is a trick that is losing its power.

One day after the initial broadcast, Al-Jazeera.com (not associated with the Al-Jazeera Space Channel TV Network that broadcast the Bin Laden tape) responded with Bin Laden tapes: fact or fiction?, a piece that questions the authenticity and too-convenient timing of this latest work, correctly suggesting the possibility of a US intelligence/Bush administration "wag the dog." In Latest Bin Laden Tape: Another of the NeoCons' 'Greatest Hits', Steve Watson points out, "even the BBC lays this out in the open with the headline Bin Laden threats may boost Bush:

" 'The commander-in-chief has been under intense pressure in recent weeks, accused of trampling on civil liberties in pursuit of terror suspects. His defence has been that America is a nation at war. So Bin Laden's latest threats to launch new attacks on the US will only serve to underline this argument.

" 'The White House will also cite the tape when trying to convince allies abroad that the use of tough tactics is justified - even when civilians are killed, as in last week's air raid in Pakistan.'

"That just says it all really."

As Michel Chossudovsky points out in The Anglo-American War of Terror: An Overview:

"One of the main objectives of war propaganda is to 'fabricate an enemy.' As anti-war sentiment grows and the political legitimacy the Bush Administration falters, doubts regarding the existence of this illusive 'outside enemy' must be dispelled.

"Propaganda purports not only to drown the truth but also to 'kill the evidence' on how this 'outside enemy,' namely Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda was fabricated and transformed into 'Enemy Number One.' The entire National Security doctrine centers on the existence of an 'outside enemy' which is threatening the Homeland."

Even if he were real, "Osama," "Al-Qaeda" and the "war on terrorism" has exclusively served the political purposes of the Anglo-American empire, every moment that the Bush administration has needed a fabricated straw enemy. The irrefutable fact that Osama bin Laden, and Al-Qaeda, and all fabricated propaganda featuring their images, are creations of Anglo-American intelligence, and continue to serve faithfully as intelligence assets.

See: Who is Osama bin Laden? and Al-Qaeda:the database

Antiwar Left Targeted
As this writer previously noted, "if the case can be made that the tapes are, in fact, manufactured by US intelligence agencies, it stands to reason that the words out of the mouth of the Osama image have also been conceived, written and planted by these same agencies. It is therefore foolish to 'read' the tapes without this likely framework in mind . . . It is not a stretch to expect future bin Laden tapes to issue more specific planted facts about a variety of issues that the Bush administration wants American citizens to oppose. "

Recall that the goal of the last round of "Osama" transmissions sought to ridicule 9/11 "conspiracy theories," and the concept that oil was behind the Anglo-American war of conquest. In this followup, the Bush administration wants Americans, and the entire world, to oppose the antiwar movement. If "Osama" the archfiend is talking peace, then peace, of course, is unacceptable.

In a January 21, piece, What's Not Right About the Bin Laden Tape, Wayne Madsen cuts to the heart of the Bush propaganda game:

"What's not right about the Osama Bin Laden tape. One thing that the Bush administration does well is manage perceptions of the public. Amid protests over the NSA wiretapping, the extension of the Patriot Act, and the nomination of neo-Fascist Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, an audio tape on Osama Bin Laden is sent to Al Jazeera. On the tape, Bin Laden suddenly veers from being a traditional right-wing Wahhabi fanatic to the right of the House of Saud to a leftist progressive. The tape by Bin Laden was quickly verified as 'authentic' by a CIA that is now firmly in the grasp of neo-cons under Porter Goss.

"However, the tape is an obvious fake being used by the Bush administration to scare Americans into believing 'Al Qaeda' is making plans for another attack and an attempt to link Bin Laden to Democrats."

Madsen then gets to heart of the fakery:

"The reason the tape is as phony as Niger yellowcake documents and Saddam's weapons of mass destruction is as plain as day. 'Bin Laden' allegedly quotes from the introduction of a book written by long-time Washington, DC progressive author and journalist and a friend of mine, Bill Blum. Bill was once an editor and contributor to Covert Action Quarterly, a magazine devoted to exposing CIA operations like the arming, funding, and training of Bin Laden and his mujaheddin guerrillas during the Afghan-Soviet war.

"The Bush perception managers are either incredibly stupid or are trying to ensnare liberal journalists as aiders and abettors of Al Qaeda, something that is certainly within their scope. Bin Laden allegedly quotes the following passage from Blum's book, Rogue State: "If you (Americans) are sincere in your desire for peace and security, we have answered you. And if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State, which states in its introduction: 'If I were president, I would stop the attacks on the United States: First I would give an apology to all the widows and orphans and those who were tortured. Then I would announce that American interference in the nations of the world has ended once and for all.'" However, this quote is not from Rogue State, again, pointing to a very bad forgery of the Bin Laden audiotape."

Madsen correctly points out that historian Blum's support for the Soviet war in Afghanistan makes a plug from "Osama" all the more ridiculous:

"So, we're now supposed to believe that Bin Laden has come around to plug the book written by an author who demonstrated that the Soviet cause in Afghanistan was for self-defense and in furtherance of the well-being of the Afghan people and that Bin Laden's and his mujaheddin compatriots' cause was anti-progressive and destabilizing to the central Asian region? This would be laughable if it were not for the fact that the neo-cons are once again using the Big Lie to further their ambitions of global domination and worldwide fascism. The 911 attacks are beginning to look more and more like the Reichstag Fire, both engineered to bring about fascist control."

All signs point not to a transmission out of a mountain cave, but more likely out of a Langley, Virginia, office, and the desk of amateurish (and frankly, poorly-read) propaganda operatives.

In other ways, the new transmission is telling as a measure of how far the Bush administration has fallen. "Osama" is open to "a long-term truce on fair conditions," and a solution that "prevents the wasting of billions of dollars that have gone to those with influence, and merchants of war in America who have supported Bush's election campaign with billions of dollars." These are almost the words of a neoliberal Democrat. Is this "Osama" talking peace -- or the Bush neocon propaganda writers conceding that its own game is so lost, that its favorite war propaganda image has had to be recharacterized and rescripted?

The inconsistency of the "voice" raises yet another question. It is time for some "Bin Laden expert" to explain how "Osama" has gone from the fanatical gibberish of previous transmissions, to the statesman-like, William Blum-gushing nuance of this new one.

Unfortunately, there are still plenty among the indoctrinated American sheeple who would still jump through this propaganda hoop in unquestioning and ignorant Pavlovian fashion, every time Dick Cheney tells them to. This includes the so-called antiwar Left, the majority of the Democratic Party faction, and elite Left "progressives," all of whom have enthusiastically supported the "war on terrorism" lie from day one -- serving the ultimate interests of the New World Order.

This includes William Blum himself, who apparently believes that "Osama" is alive and real, and that the transmissions have been authentic. His fine work notwithstanding, Blum's own failure to grasp parapolitcal realities is symptomatic of a broader malady, which plays into the hand of Bush forces.

Perhaps the real end game of Bush propaganda forces is the creation of rifts and the sowing of even more dissension within the antiwar/anti-imperialist ranks, rendering the establishment of a massive and powerful antiwar movement impossible.

What the world must continue to take seriously is not a threatened strike by "Osama," but the violent desperation of a stumbling New World Order (the ultimate creator of "Osama," and the paymasters of "Al-Qaeda" and "Islamic terrorism"), and a Bush administration that will resort to anything to save itself. As it was on the morning of 9/11, all eyes must remain locked on the guilty parties in Washington and the openly criminal Bush administration, with the means, motive and opportunity to wreak havoc.

Copyright © 1998-2006 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

Posted by: che | January 26, 2006 04:19 PM

patriot1957:

Try this link for Luntz's piece: http://www.gnn.tv/headlines/3686/Galloway_Bombings_price_of_Iraq

The link is down the page in the comments section.

I also copied the pdf file; let me know if you need it.

Posted by: Average American | January 26, 2006 04:21 PM

And now we'll see. Hamas's position is one of a party that has everything to gain but also something to lose. Experience in the middle east suggests that they have a tightrope walk that at any step can bring down their game. What do I mean?
In one instance, Hamas has earned the attention and respect of many Palestinians which now has resulted in their gaining status of power AND responsibility. From reports, Hamas has shown itself responsive to many popular needs and thereby gained support from Palestinian centrists. This also at a time when Fatah seemed not to be open to change. So the radical and violent Hamas is put on center stage.
The other side for Hamas is its "heritage." Associated with much of the recent violence against Israel (and within Palestine toward rival parties), Hamas will need to overcome many negative perceptions. Reluctant thus far to disarm and rein in its most reactionary and violent elements, these issues are now likely to come to the forefront. As indicated in comments here, Hamas is now going to have to put its own house in order to be able to function as a government representing the fate of the Palestinian people.
But Hamas has made a serious and sustained bid for recognition and respect. Culture and tradition are powerful factors, and Hamas will have some major challenges maintaining its leadership role, keeping its identity as a daring and independent political force, and instituting changes that will transition a disposessed people into a nation. Plus, in the leadership role of their government, they must win friends and influence people at home and abroad.
In the short term, things will become more tense in the middle east. The U. S. cannot - without significant changes in foreign policy - deal directly with the Hamas-led PLO. In the end, I expect everyone will find a way to cope. Of possible changes, one might have hoped for a moderate but strongly supported regime, but given how things really happen, radical moves more often get the pendulum moving in an opposite direction. And maybe there's a lesson in that for us.

Posted by: Jazzman | January 26, 2006 04:21 PM

Thanks for the link Average American!

Posted by: patriot1957 | January 26, 2006 04:27 PM

Errin the clueless ranted:
===========================================
"Give it a rest, at least until Emily gets back from her well-deserved vacation."
===========================================

Has zero to do with Emily's vacation. This is media and internet ethics.

Don't know what you do for a living, but I'm a web designer and admining/modding/coding/designing for blogs and forums I do. Noticing a way of editing content without a change in the timestamp, shows either it's built in as a mod, or deliberately set back (which I doubt Emily herself did, as that's admin controls).

There's serious dangers in that with a media giant (e.g., Rathergate, or worse, cached copy hunts and finding different copies), and this is a headsup that it's noticed.

Rather say it now, than wait for another faked outrage invasion.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 26, 2006 04:49 PM

Patriot 1957 wrote:
===========================================
"Many things contributed to the defusing of the IRA, but when some attention was paid to what the people (vs the extremists) really wanted, things got better. They didn't get everything the IRA wanted, but once they got enough the support for the terrorism dried up."
===========================================

It took one bombing that killed over 20 residents to break the camel's back.

The IRA is much different than Hamas and the other Islamic terrorists. The IRA (and Sinn Fein) would call the cops in advance warning them so residents and all can clear out. In the case of that last bombing, the call came too late, and this time it was their own dying.

That's not what's occurring the the Middle East, so comparisons with the IRA/Sinn Fein with Hamas and other thugs doesn't fit. The M.O./Signature are different, with a culture that's willing to take the sacrifices.

Another thing everyone: Trust is earned, not givened. It'll take a l-o-n-g time before Hamas will gain trust by ANY non rogue state. Russia wouldn't trust them, let alone France, either.

They'll be getting political power now, but if anyone wants to know how it is with Hamas in power, check Syria and Iran for knowledge.

"Yikes!" indeed.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 26, 2006 04:59 PM

Terrorism is a way for a person or organization with limited resources to fight an oponent with greater resources and/or more political capital. In a world where money talks and BS walks, not much is accomplished by words. Terrorism as been a part of this world for centuries, exercised by members of so called civilized peoples. Why are we so surprised when a people has had enough and surrenders to the only group that has done anything for them.

Posted by: MarcoB | January 26, 2006 05:31 PM

When a people are oppressed, downtrodden, murdered and have their lands stolen from them, we should not be surprised when they veer into extemism and violence to defend themselves. Hamas may be terrorists to some but to the Palestinian people it represents their hope for existence.
How laughable it is to hear the US administration lamely trying to belittle the Hamas landslide victory by attacking their undeniably agressive acts and policies. How many people really believe that Israel is any better? The only difference that I can perceive is that the Israeli politicians usually speak good English and wear suits whilst the Palestinian cause is presented by people who unfortunately do not speak good English. Apart from this, the Israeli actions have proven to be immoral and usually illegal and acting in direct defiance of the many UN resolutions against that country.
The US's blind defense of Israel and all of its actions only showers more protest and enflames hatred against a country that is seen as the enemy of democracy. If you stick up for the bully on the block you get labelled a bully.

Posted by: Rob | January 26, 2006 05:50 PM

MarcoB wrote:
===========================================
"In a world where money talks and BS walks, not much is accomplished by words."
===========================================

[Capital case of linkage blindness]

That's...

1. Defeatism.
2. A cop out.

Real movements that mattered (and on the good side of history) come from folks who know the difference between anarchy and what's good for society.

If folks would take MLK, Jr's example, the entire world would be a better place.

Peaceful change goes a heck of a lot farther than an armed rebellion that thinks nothing of even killing their own. Which is but one reason wanton killing type of rebellions are extreme, kooky and wrong -- even by their own kind.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 26, 2006 05:57 PM

When huge voting majorities declare support for a party held intact by terror and intolerance, it makes the term "extremism" lose meaning.

Posted by: On the plantation | January 26, 2006 06:13 PM

By that standard then, Republican control in this country isn't extreme, but "mainstream".

Might wish to rethink your logic/argument better. ;)

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 26, 2006 06:32 PM

SandyK wrote that my comment
constituted "defeatism" and was a "cop out". I wonder if Ms. K has ever experienced first hand the ramifications of racism, discrimination and abstract poverty?

When was the last time Ms. K marched on Washington, demonstrated for a righteous cause or even wrote her political representatives to try to effect real positive change in our society? If she has I would ask her if her convictions ever placed her very life in danger? I would then respectfully ask her if her peaceful resistance effected any real and enduring change?

I too hold Martin Luther King in the highest esteem. Here was a truly peaceful man with the fortitude of his convictions. Unfortunately,he paid the ultimate price for those convictions; his life. To speak of Martin Luther King so blithely without indicating the price he paid for his convictions disrespects his memory and his life. In a perfect world mankind would consist of all Martin Luther Kings. JFK's and Abraham Lincolns. But reality bites. It's an imperfect world and people are not perfect. To preach that it should be otherwise is "idealistic" and "naive". A premise based on an inherent fallacy. Human beings are not perfect by design and when faced with what may seem as insurmountable odds, most would fight back, not lie down and take it.

Posted by: MarcoB | January 26, 2006 07:15 PM

__________

Might wish to rethink your logic/argument better.

__________

It's not an argument. It's an observation about outmoded use of the language. Think statistics. The center of the curve, whatever it represents, is not in the extreme.

Posted by: On the plantation | January 26, 2006 07:27 PM

"To speak of Martin Luther King so blithely without indicating the price he paid for his convictions disrespects his memory and his life. In a perfect world mankind would consist of all Martin Luther Kings. JFK's and Abraham Lincolns."

Lincoln was also a plagarist and a serial adulterer?

Go figure!

Posted by: Chris Ford | January 26, 2006 07:28 PM

Power is an asset, and majority power is a high-grade asset -- even in little domains. This new concentration of power will inevitably lead to internal contests to claim a worthwhile piece of it. After the first wave of grey beards wrestle for a while, look to the rising generation.

What would be interesting, would be any evidence of any real cultural or strategic innovation (i.e. stepping outside the culture of death) in the second wave of power maneuvering.

For example, take the basic issue of territory with its obvious implications for resources and development. Even if one should assume the impossible, that every square millimeter of Israel is taken and occupied by Palestinian Islamists, how much real improvement does that get them. Precious little in reality.

Now, shift focus. What happens if expanses in Africa (Sudan comes to mind) are sought after by bolder Palestinians, consolidating in one Islamist congenial and complementary form or another. That's the sort of thing that represents exponential growth for at least a few generations, feeding the egos of a lot of power seekers. Such a venture and outlet for energies could be labeled the Islamist West.

The point is, immediate political events, if they don't get too many of us killed, are potential precursors to bold initiatives that could be merely peaceably competitive on a global basis. There's not much evidence to show that Islamic culture has any drive to innovate, as they are so obsessed with distractions, but the pot might be boiling up in the next historical period.

Posted by: On the plantation | January 26, 2006 08:04 PM

I have to support SandyK and everyone else who has spent all day logically and intelligently defending the principles of human freedom and democracy.

As for the masochists who want desperately to believe that Hamas isn't the thuggish mafia that it apears to be, I have a few questions.

What would you people say if Hamas was an American fundementalist Christian organization instead of a Muslim one? Would you still call it mainstream? What if this Christian American organization bombed busses of Muslim women and children, instead of Jewish women and children? Are you letting Muslim extremists off too easy? And will that make the Muslim extremists hate you any less?

Posted by: JulesS | January 26, 2006 10:58 PM

Hamas won....Big deal....Now they can worry about sewage, electricity, and trash pick-up...

At least they won't have to worry about reading this BLOG...

You guys need to have yourselves a big, hot, healthy one and relax.........

Posted by: The Lonemule | January 26, 2006 11:26 PM

To our knowledge, Hamas has an execrable record on human rights, has murdered (or encouraged murder) its rivals and innocents, and exhibited little in the way of "progressive" civic responsibility. Yet the elections in Palestine were encouraged by many outside influences, the U. S. not the least among them. The "people" spoke, and Hamas was their choice. How they govern remains to be seen.
Few people look at their own causes from the perspective of "the other side." Oh, they may say that they've examined things from all sides, but realistically, that's probably never truly the case. Each of us develops ways of thinking, of receiving news, facts, even history (or the Constitution?) and rarely are we really open to acceptance of contrary ideas. That's entirely human.
It is interesting that Jules drew an analogy between Muslim and Christian fundamentalists. "Fundamentalists" of any belief are rarely the majority (ever?), but at one time or another, these believers attract numbers of adherents who do not necessarily into the "fundamentals" but for other reasons are attracted to the other message being presented. That message is usually something along the lines of:
1) Things in the/our world are bad and something must be done;
2) The bad things are caused by failure to adhere to this set of beliefs and by those who flout these beliefs;
3) We need to take action to wipe out the non-believers, to compel the state to conform to our beliefs;
4) The actions we take, however harsh they seem, are justified because our belief is right.
In short, "fundamentalist" leaders may align their rhetoric to tap into sympathies of groups or populations whose needs or concerns see the "faith" as a rallying point. And there are those who share neither the need nor the faith who see in the conjunction of need and faith an opportunity to harness political power. This would seem to describe the case of Hamas (and quite a number of other significant situations in the present time).
History has some interesting examples such unitings of faith and politics. Europe in the middle ages? Feudal Japan? Ancient Egypt? There are many to choose from. In modern times, however, the trending has been away from this kind of social organization largely because of the attendant strife.
In the case of Palestine, Hamas may change and set an example and stand up for those it claims to represent. Palestinians as people would probably embrace peace, hope, and progress along with a respected acceptance into the world community. If Hamas reforms its goals and methods and delivers then perhaps democratic process has taken a foothold. If, as many fear, Hamas continues in its rather narrow direction, sceptics will be proven right. At this point, there is no way to predict which will prove true.

Posted by: Jazzman | January 27, 2006 12:17 AM

Jazzman,
I am, in a way, a bit more optimistic than thee seems to be. I think it's helpful to throw out the demonization entirely, not easy with so much of it around, but essential to fully perceive what others might see. We should also remember that the PLO was once as reviled and demonized as Hamas; it was the skeleton of the PLO we thought and hoped would squeak by in this election. And someone somewhere usefully pointed out the Irgun and the Stern gang, who were the Jewish equivalent of the PLO as far as the Brits were concerned and as rightly demonized. Begin came out of that group and Likud sort of inherits this heritage. For better or for worse, power usually takes the extreme into the mainstream. North Korea is certainly an exception.

But Hamas has shown more than just competence at delivering social services. It is also a reflection of their religious values, a genuine reflection, one found also in the broader Shia community, the Sunni community, where it is a religious obligation to help those poorer than themselves, something we usually label "leftist". Our own Mormon's maintain similar values and take good care of their own, one of several qualities for which they deserve great respect. It behooves us to understand that the vote was probably, and since we can't read minds it must remain just a conjecture, less about war or peace with Israel, and more about getting rid of a thuggish corrupt government that neither cared for them or provided security to them for a government that would care about them. Will they actually care? I don't know, but these voters are certainly in a whole lot better position to judge this than I, which makes their judgment much more likely to be right than mine.

So what Hamas will actually do in this role they have assumed I just don't know, I doubt that they do. But it should not surprise anyone if they do good things, because they have. It should not surprise anyone if they do bad things, because they have. What we can do is prepare to cope with bad things, and prepare and hope for good things. It's going to take a long time and what our policy should be aimed at is doing what we can to make sure that the Palestinian people will have a future election, to reaffirm their current choice or throw the bums out.

I must say it was hilarious today watching the Democratic political genius, Bob Schrum going at it on cable with Pat Buchanan. Bob took the position the all this democracy stuff from Bush was really stupid because they keep electing the wrong people so we need to figure out a better way than democracy to protect our national interest. Now I don't have to wonder why he has never been able to win the Super bowl. Pat on the other hand, like Bush, just couldn't bring himself to find much light at the end of the tunnel, but had to acknowledge that the Palestinian people had made a legitimate choice and we had to respect it and deal with it. Yup, we are certainly committed to democracy all right; as long as it comes out to our liking. :o)

I've much more faith in basic democracy than this and I do support Bush's push for it. But we can't impose it, dictate its form, or dictate its results. It's a lot better situation all around if we can just be negotiating with results that have some assurance of actually being representative of the people. I'll be faced with providing that this fall, and so will our Congress. Perhaps we will have our own "shock and awe" as we see how our political corruption plays out.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 27, 2006 12:43 AM

MarcoB incredibly wrote:
===========================================
"SandyK wrote that my comment
constituted "defeatism" and was a "cop out". I wonder if Ms. K has ever experienced first hand the ramifications of racism, discrimination and abstract poverty?"
===========================================

You really don't investigate before you write, do you?

And your above statement in itself shows a lack of insight. If you don't have a clue of the discrimination women face, your premise really doesn't connect to reality.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 27, 2006 04:19 AM

Cayambe wrote:
===========================================
"I am, in a way, a bit more optimistic than thee seems to be. I think it's helpful to throw out the demonization entirely, not easy with so much of it around, but essential to fully perceive what others might see."
===========================================

:blink: :blink:

Did you say the same thing with what Timothy MacVeigh did? Did you say the same thing of what the Israelis did? Did you say the same thing in the terrorism Russia is facing with those terrorists killing Russians (from blowing airliners with passengers; executing kids in a school; to taking over an opera house and the resulting deaths it caused to free the hostages)?

Folks *have* put down terrorism because that ideal is species killing (goes against our whole existence). There's a difference between disagreeing and taking peaceful means to win hearts and minds; it's another at a point of a gun or a bomb. The former there is a choice, the latter no choice.

Are you so radical to be against even choice??

Unless Hamas completely disregards terrorism as a means to an end, and denouces terrorism (including their own), then they have no right to sit at the table of humanity, let alone civilization (they represent everything that's NOT civilized).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 27, 2006 04:39 AM

JulesS wrote:
===========================================
"What would you people say if Hamas was an American fundementalist Christian organization instead of a Muslim one? Would you still call it mainstream?"
===========================================

:cough: Wrong analogy :cough:

This segment that's for Hamas don't care about Christianity, let alone Judaism. There's a strong current of Communism and Anarchy in this support for Hamas. Two belief systems that has murdered more people in Mankind's history than any other belief (over 60,000,000 dead in the USSR alone).

Takes a long time before folks will let an idealogy die on the vine, which is why there's *Neo*-Nazis and *Neo*-Conservatism still around, too.

In partisanship folks forget about civilization. They only care about the here and now, and what ill gotten gains that can be had with the same evilness Communism and Anarchy offered. It's not what's best for humankind, it's what's best for *me*. Such egoism and selfishness is going to kill Homo sapiens faster than any disease or stray asteroid.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 27, 2006 04:49 AM

Chris Ford wrote:
===========================================
Lincoln was also a plagarist and a serial adulterer?

Go figure!
===========================================

Well, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson "borrowed" ideals from the Romans, and were rakes themselves.

Would that mean we just disregard those ideals (and our very nationhood) because of social lapses?

No.

MLK, Jr. knew of a injustice and repelled against it civily. He didn't support bombing the racists (and didn't fund them). He didn't support terrorism abroad (he actually adopted Gandhi's form of peaceful civil disobedience [which worked in India, and also worked with the Civil Rights movement <-- proof of the concept works across cultures]).

Hamas' idealogy is at the wrong side of history; wrong side of correcting social ills; and even as a means of gaining statehood.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 27, 2006 05:01 AM

Tsk Tsk SandyK

It seems you always want to have the last word. That's ok, but you didn't answer the questions asked.

As for your allegation that I'm not based in reality. I was surprised to find that you would know better than me, since, I was born and still am a minority woman with a disabled child.

The things that make you go Hmmmm.

Posted by: MarcoB | January 27, 2006 07:40 AM

Israel now has carte blanche to proceed with unilateral disengagement. Indeed, they have no choice. In the short term this development is rife with potential catastrophe. However, in the long run there are many possibilities. Hamas no longer has the simple luxury of sitting on the sidelines and blowing people up. They now have to deliver for their people and govern. If there is a whiff of corruption the Palestinians will turn on them as they did with Fatah. Also, this isn't Afghanistan. The Palestinians have been exposed to Israeli democracy through radio and tv. While they loath the Israelis they also envy what they have. If Hamas tries to impose a Taliban like theocrocy on the population I don't believe it will be kindly embraced. Over time we may yet see a reform minded alternative emerge as a political entity in Palestine and that's when we'll get some movement. Between now and then: more blood will be shed on both sides. And that's horrible.

http://www.intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | January 27, 2006 08:12 AM

Wasn't Israel created by "Terrorism"?

The King David Hotel bombing (July 22, 1946) was a bombing attack against the British government of Palestine by members of Irgun --a militant Zionist group.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_David_Hotel_bombing
The attack was initially ordered by David Ben Gurion, who was in the United States, but he later changed his mind and ordered the bombing to be cancelled. But Menachem Begin, the head of Irgun, went ahead anyway. Both Ben Gurion and Begin would later become Israeli Prime Ministers.

Amid all the howls of pain and gnashing of teeth over the triumph of Hamas in the Palestinian elections, one fact remains relatively obscure, albeit highly relevant: Israel did much to launch Hamas as an effective force in the occupied territories.
http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=8449
The idea that voting is some kind of panacea that will cleanse the Middle East of a self-defeating radicalism is an illusion that died a painful death with the election victory of Hamas. It had earlier suffered near-fatal convulsions with the ascension to power in Iraq of a Shi'ite fundamentalist coalition closely tied to Iran. The bitch-goddess of capital-D Democracy is a fickle and often perversely cruel deity, whose worshippers have been hit with a one-two punch as they seek to transform an entire region according to the canons of their peculiar dogma.

Posted by: Hamas, Son of Zion | January 27, 2006 08:25 AM

The US is right not to recognize the Hamas-led government until it renounces its goal of destroying Israel (hell, its in their charter). The Palestinians live in a sick culture that has convinced itself that all of their problems are going to go away once the Jews have been massacred. One election, heck, a dozen elections, isn't going to change that. Other Arab states are more responsible than Israel for the palestinians condition...whipping up Jew hatred and actively exploiting the misery of the people of Palestine to keep their own populations subjugated. If they really cared so much, why haven't the Gulf States written the PA a big check? Surely, with the billions of oil revenue they have they could certainly make an investment, right? No, the only chance palestine has to even start down the road of being a "normal" state is if the region around it is transformed.

Till then, its Somalia-on-the-Mediterranean.

Posted by: D. | January 27, 2006 10:20 AM

"To our knowledge, Hamas has an execrable record on human rights, has murdered (or encouraged murder) its rivals and innocents, and exhibited little in the way of "progressive" civic responsibility."

Oh-tay.. And who was funding/pushing all the dirty work in South America, Indonesia, Philippines, Asia, and now Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan..? That would be the US, leader of the free world and number four in infant mortality. What a track record for "progressive" let alone civic responsibility.

I doubt the communists can hold a candle to the capitalists. If it's not right when "they" do it, sure as hades ain't right when we do. It is that simple.

Hamas will be around until they get some traction going and then there will be targeted assasinations to remove the "moral ambiguity", just like what happened in South America in the 80's. It's a threat, threats get eliminated and the ends justify the means, especially in this day and age.

Posted by: GetItRight | January 27, 2006 10:29 AM

Number 4 in infant mortality rates? Really.

http://www.geographyiq.com/ranking/ranking_Infant_Mortality_Rate_aall.htm
http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0004393.html
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/rankorder/2091rank.html
http://www.aneki.com/mortality.html

Communists can't hold a candle to the capitalists? Read:

The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression
by Stéphane Courtois et al.; translation by Jonathan Murphy and Mark Kramer

Harvard University Press - 1999 - 858 pages - $37.50

Excerpt:

The authors' research offers a rough exposition of the crimes of communism: USSR, 20 million deaths; China, 65 million deaths; Vietnam, 1 million deaths; North Korea, 2 million deaths; Cambodia, 2 million deaths; Eastern Europe, 1 million deaths; Latin America, 150,000 deaths; Africa, 1.7 million deaths; Afghanistan, 1.5 million deaths; the international communist movement and communist parties not in power, about 10,000 deaths.

Posted by: D. - I Got It Right | January 27, 2006 10:50 AM

This is just another dead end to peace. Peace will not come by collaboration of world governments, but it will be one European Union representative that will solve the world's most urgent problems. The world will honor him because of these acts, world governments will hand over their powers to him, he will change laws to institute a one world government, economic and religious system--after all, isn't this what separates us--then in the middle of his reign he will start the greatest war that will ever be know to mankind.

Posted by: brooksdx | January 27, 2006 11:03 AM

I have tremendous faith in democratic ideals. At issue is whether the use of democratic mechanisms is something heartfelt among the players (say in the Palestinian case) or simply an effective tool to appropriate power to non-democratic ends. Since we don't really have a plug-in to the motives and long-term interests of Hamas (or Fatah, for that matter) it's near impossible to predict to what lengths they may go to establish a working democratic society. If they feel that that furthers their goals, they may so move. Otherwise, who knows?

Posted by: Jazzman | January 27, 2006 11:13 AM

To all those who ignore the whole story and try and use isolated incidents to justify almost any action:

Tell all of the story.
Jews bought swampland at inflated prices and turned it into something desireable, starting more than 50 years before 1948.
And these settlements were under constant attack, defended by poorly armed settlers, men, woman, and children.

Jews who had 2,000 year histories in Arab lands, are mostly gone, forced out without compensation, or were jailed, killed, and hung from lampposts. Are they to be compensated or returned to their former homes, too?

Why is it, that many Muslim countries can't tolerate any Jewish presence, but think it's acceptable for Israel to give up the one place in the world that is home?

The Irgun, after warning, blew up the King David. Afterwards, they were forced to disband, and were disarrmed, by the Haganah, the army of Israel.

One could go on, but I don't think I'm going to chnge any minds...

Posted by: the rest of the story... | January 27, 2006 11:40 AM

I guess our troops can come home now.

Posted by: brooksdx | January 27, 2006 11:47 AM

this is in a sense the boston tea party....


george had a choice....he didn't need to raise the stakes by being too insensitive...but he did...you re president created a hamas victory.


thugs, pissed off people, eye-foran-eye brothers of blood....


old testament buddies, children of abraham all....


what is it...

people

who weren't listened to on both sides.

Posted by: bush created the hamas victory.... | January 27, 2006 01:02 PM

perhaps they need to drop that identity and see if they just use it as a sheild against reality....perhaps it is a self fufilling identity...

children of abraham both sides....tell me what you are doing to see your face in the other half?

Posted by: jews are an ethnic group that identify themselves as "the persecuted" | January 27, 2006 01:05 PM

SandyK wrote,
Did you say the same thing with what Timothy MacVeigh did? Did you say the same thing of what the Israelis did? Did you say the same thing in the terrorism Russia is facing with those terrorists killing Russians (from blowing airliners with passengers; executing kids in a school; to taking over an opera house and the resulting deaths it caused to free the hostages)?

No I did not say the same thing. But in thinking about those who did these things, I did not mistake them for demons, because they were not that, they were human beings, as human as you and I. The larger question they pose to us is what process of thought, what personal history of experience, what perception of nature can lead another otherwise normal human being to deliberately kill innocents. You would assert that this is "unacceptable". I agree with you. But clearly, there are a substantial number of people to whom this is acceptable. I ask you, why? How do they reason themselves to this conclusion?

You can't answer that question with your morality. You must somehow come to grips with understanding theirs. Nor do you have to go so far away as the Middle East to come to grips with it. Look just to the lynchings within our own borders. Read about Wounded Knee and other indiscriminate slaughters aimed at striking terror into the hearts of another people. These were our ancestral demons, Christians all. This kind of behavior is not unheard of, quite the contrary. We have seen it raise its ugly head in every civilization, every race, every continent, every culture throughout all the history we can discern. I don't know of any culture untainted by it, ancient or modern.

The immediate remedy for this kind of behavior is simple. Find the person or people who actually do it and kill them. This is terror used to counter terror. But if you are not willing to come to grips with what brought them to this point, you have yourself an endless task, because they will be replaced by others.

Terror itself is a tactic. Terror is fear, raised to the level that it affects the behavior of the one who is terrified. It is an acceptable tactic. We use it on our children. It is a common justification for the death penalty. We use it in Iraq. We tell Iraqi civilians, "We will bomb your home if we think you are harboring terrorists". So we use the threat of the death of themselves and their innocent children to terrify them into denying support to the other side. We give it substance by actually doing it, you know, killing innocent children. We dismiss ourselves out of it by redefining this as "collateral damage", necessary to save other lives. This may be adequate for your personal conscience but probably not for the aunts and uncles of those children. I imagine they might take a different point of view of it.

A point I am making here is that one must be wary of using labels in a debate without defining what they really mean. Because I understand the word "Terror" as I do, a "War on Terror" is a pretty nonsensical notion to me and I really don't know what we are talking about here. (Not you specifically, Sandy, but anyone who uses that phrase). Our present day politics have become proficient in using such labels to frame debates so they favor one side or the other. It's no secret. The pundits on cable TV handicap the players on this basis practically every night. They even pontificate on how this marginalizes the debate itself, changing the very issues the debate is about. To the extent that winning is your objective, it works. That is why it continues. To the extent that education and information is your objective, it becomes ever more useless as the debate becomes more and more about narrow abstractions and less and less about the realities on the fields of actual contention. And it goes all the way to the top. How else can you explain the real and genuine shock throughout the West and even some of the elites of the Middle East of the results of the Palestinian election.

So no Sandy, I am not looking for the demons. I am looking at the world as it really is, to the extent that my own wits and senses permit, and my view of the debate is not that it is something I wish to win so much as it is something I wish to learn from.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 27, 2006 03:58 PM

Well said Cayambe. It is refreshing to read a blog entry that does not expound an answer but rather encourages discussion on both sides of the issue. I applaude and concur with your thoughtful and insightful analysis. Judgement and moral superiority can only serve to fuel dissention and hatred. Solutions arise when both sides can truly understand the motivations and travails of the other side.

Posted by: MarcoB | January 27, 2006 05:12 PM

A balanced debate would not omit the predicate that Israel is dedicated to the violent destruction of Palestinian society and the violent theft of Palestinian territory.

The difference between the two is that Israel has implemented its death wish .. so now the remotest thought that it won't result in total extermination of Palestine sends the Israelis into hysteria.

Posted by: Timothy L | January 27, 2006 05:43 PM

Cayambe wrote:
===========================================
"they were human beings, as human as you and I."
===========================================

Terrorists aren't human beings. They lost the right to be considered human, as they don't know what HUMANE means. They're species killers, and deserve no seat at the the table of humanity.

Anthropologically they need to be extinct.

When a group of thugs proclaim to be God themselves, to try and judge others solely on their race and ethnic group, they also don't deserve respect.

Those thugs lost the respect the minute they murdered (they do so PURPOSELY), and deserve the fate of roaches when the exterminator arrives.

To consider them anything more than roaches makes Democrats look like they support them.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 27, 2006 06:59 PM

Timothy L wrote:
===========================================
"A balanced debate would not omit the predicate that Israel is dedicated to the violent destruction of Palestinian society and the violent theft of Palestinian territory."
===========================================

Loaded replies don't equate to "balance", it's an extension of their criticism.

The word theft makes your view anything but biased, as you already concluded what you claim not to be (biased and short sighted).

Which is why glaring hypocrisy exists.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 27, 2006 07:03 PM

Cayambe wrote:
===========================================
"So no Sandy, I am not looking for the demons. I am looking at the world as it really is, to the extent that my own wits and senses permit, and my view of the debate is not that it is something I wish to win so much as it is something I wish to learn from."
===========================================

To claim you can work with terrorists is the same as you can reform child molesters (which is impossible. There isn't a treatment that can cure it. It's too hardwired).

You're looking for a world that doesn't exist. Do you still cherish Communism, you know that failed system too? There's always Cuba to return too, if you love it so much). Utopias on Earth can't exist because folks will pooh-pooh thugs and proclaim, "They need rights too. Feel sorry for their plight", while they rape and pillage and kill ABSOLUTE innocents.

Who gave you the right to harbor nation and species killers?

*No one.*

Terrorists and fifth columnists need to be drawn and quartered and their heads mounted on a pike in the town square (and I'd do it the moment one even tries to harm my community, worse my family. That's not a threat, it's a promise).

I draw a very straight and deep line at terrorism. Species killers have no right to live.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 27, 2006 07:19 PM

"You're looking for a world that doesn't exist."

No Sandy, I'm looking at a world which does exist, right here in its full glory in front of me. It's full of all kinds of people, good, bad, smart, dumb, thoughtful, impulsive, analytical, emotional, honest, deceptive, raucus. quiet, spastic, deliberate, sensitive, insensitive, creative, obsessive, polite, rude, you name it, it's there. Pick whatever shoes fit you.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 27, 2006 08:54 PM

MarcoB,
Thanks, but beyond solutions, I would also argue that it is an essential element of an effective defense against physical terrorist attacks. You can't expect to correctly anticipate your foe's next move if you can't think as he does and understand where his motives and priorities lie.

I thought this last tape was entirely coherent with what he has said before and he was simply going over the heads of everyone to talk directly to the American people. All he really said was he wants us out of Arab lands and if we get out he won't bother us. That is the long and the short of it and I've heard it before and I hear it again. Message received. That doesn't mean I think we should do as he wishes (I don't), but at least we know where he is coming from. Maybe we need to better understand where we are coming from.

I just thought all of the over the top analysis of real or fake, dead or alive, sign of strength or weakness, what he really meant (or didn't) was pretty damn funny actually. I just don't think it's all that complicated. He is just trying to talk to us in the manner that he thinks we will actually listen to. Some do, some don't.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 27, 2006 09:31 PM

It has become quite apparent that having any kind of substantive discussion with SandyK can be likened to having a honorable debate with a politician. One concept just doesn't jive with the other. Aside from substituting name calling for rational discourse, it seems that yesterday's closely held ideals have been replaced with today's more hateful "let's kill them all" attitude.

Yesterday, SandyK wrote:
===============================
"If folks would take MLK, Jr's example, the entire world would be a better place."
===============================

Today, SandyK writes;
===============================
Terrorists aren't human beings. They lost the right to be considered human, as they don't know what HUMANE means.
===============================
and
==============================="Anthropologically they need to be extinct."
===============================

To which I wonder where MLK's ideaology applies. I certainly don't recall MLK advocating "extermination" as the solution to the world's societal blights. I quantify my argument here so there can no misunderstanding by quoting Cayambe's insightful comment today when she wrote;
===============================
"A point I am making here is that one must be wary of using labels in a debate without defining what they really mean. Because I understand the word "Terror" as I do, a "War on Terror" is a pretty nonsensical notion to me and I really don't know what we are talking about here. (Not you specifically, Sandy, but anyone who uses that phrase). Our present day politics have become proficient in using such labels to frame debates so they favor one side or the other. It's no secret. The pundits on cable TV handicap the players on this basis practically every night. They even pontificate on how this marginalizes the debate itself, changing the very issues the debate is about. To the extent that winning is your objective, it works. That is why it continues. To the extent that education and information is your objective, it becomes ever more useless as the debate becomes more and more about narrow abstractions and less and less about the realities on the fields of actual contention."
===============================

However, in all fairness, I must give Ms. K credit for resolving this dilemna for me when she further writes;
===============================
"When a group of thugs proclaim to be God themselves, to try and judge others solely on their race and ethnic group, they also don't deserve respect."
===============================
and
===============================
"Which is why glaring hypocrisy exists."
===============================
Well said SandyK. You finally got it right.

Posted by: MarcoB | January 27, 2006 10:05 PM

Cayambe wrote:
===========================================
"No Sandy, I'm looking at a world which does exist, right here in its full glory in front of me."
===========================================

That's the world most would want to forget. It's full of injustice, biases, egotism, sloth, sleight-of-hand, discrimination, poverty, pain, fraud and over all malaise.

SandyK

Posted by: | January 28, 2006 08:09 AM

MarcoB,

What you failed to understand is, I have no problems with MLK, Jr's peaceful change activism. I fully condemn terrorism and their proponents, though, as it's totally opposite of a peaceful political change.

There's no strawman there, but you're sure trying to make one up.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 28, 2006 08:14 AM

"That's the world most would want to forget. It's full of injustice, biases, egotism, sloth, sleight-of-hand, discrimination, poverty, pain, fraud and over all malaise."

Oh yes Sandy, the world is indeed full of these, as it is of better things. But to forget these particulars is to look at a world which does not exist. :o)

Posted by: Cayambe | January 28, 2006 12:31 PM

saudis are trained by the united states therefore the united states are species killers.....


shucks yer smater than you sound.

Posted by: saudis flew the planes into the buildings. | January 28, 2006 01:04 PM

can I borrow your car for awhile...


you don't know how to drive.


or tell the truth.

learn.

Posted by: glaring hypocrisy....why that describes sandy to a tee..... | January 28, 2006 01:40 PM

Roach commented:
===========================================
"saudis are trained by the united states therefore the united states are species killers....."
===========================================

This is why roaches shouldn't debate: are you now proclaiming even Emily is a mass killer too?

If so, take your hypocritical roach friend for a ride in a bug van.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 28, 2006 06:29 PM

captured your style, right?


you're not a bright guy, but predictable.


.....glad to see you acknowledge the connection....


debatelike bullyin is the refuge of perps....uncertain of being able to manage cooperation....they try to establish a cycle of domination followed by "they made me, and they did it" which is usually coincidentally pointing away from themselves....that and their abusive behaviour...


jour dad teach you how to intimidate, guess he was ineffective at life too.

diaglogue actually requires staying present and monitoring your intent...

interesting how the little dawgs band together tryin to look like one big one...


stand on your own....kiss the big mans permission slip....he believe s in you too, til he don't need you any more.

ha ha ha ha....


oh, and playing cowboyz and injuns...I can tell you never admitted getting shot....poser.

Posted by: hey, perp... | January 28, 2006 08:11 PM

Mr. Bates, owner of the Roach Motel wrote:
===========================================
"oh, and playing cowboyz and injuns"
===========================================

When the traitor Sir Anthony Blunt was asked why did he become a Soviet spy, he commented, "Cowboys and Indians".

Spies, Commies and fifth columnists tend to love the chase. Perhaps the owner of the Roach Motel has opened his door for more of the same business (perhaps why his nick is "hey, perp", too).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | January 29, 2006 07:23 PM

abusive personalities.....I like to eat em...


come closer....

Posted by: I used to talking to them.... | January 30, 2006 11:17 PM

With regards to whether attacks (against Israel) should be called patriotism or terrorism, Patriot1957 states:
"In my book the line is when you target innocent civilians and not military targets".

I agree, it often depends on which side you are sympathetic with, however in the case of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict it seems to me that it is quite naive to believe that a disorganized organization like Hamas could possibly attack any Israeli military targets given that the Palestinians do not have any army, navy or air force whilst Israel is armed to the teeth with modern tanks, fighter aircraft, armed drones, helicopter gunships, guided missiles and torpedo boats, not to mention the undeclared and uninspected chemical and nuclear weapons.

Add to this the huge financial backing that the US gives Israel every year (it's difficult to assess the final amount that the US gives to Israel over and above the US$3 billion in direct aid, but others have come to a total figure of about US$5 billion annually---approximately 13 times that donated to the Palestinian Authority.)
Given the obvious inequality in arms, spy networks, resources and military training it really does seem innocent to expect a furious Palestinian to successfully attack military targets--virtually impossible I would say.

Do not think that I am condoning attacks on civilian populations, I don't, but I also put Israeli attacks in the same group; probably even morally worse.

Destroying homes with people still inside using gigantic bulldozers, drone attacks that kill many innocent victims together with the intended target, imprisionment without trial and denial of the fact that the person involved is being held, use of torture etc.
'Nuff said.

Posted by: Rob | January 31, 2006 12:27 PM

My word! Sandy K seems quite medieval in her outlook on life what with putting decapitated Palestinian heads on spikes and halberds. Perhaps she went to the Tower of London on her last vacations and picked up a few of her ideas of justice there.

Getting back on subject.....
Undeniably Israel has been found guilty in the court of public opinion for its (quite successfull until now) policy of eradicating the Palestinian people from the map.
That, my dear Sandy, is the reason that many of us just will not put up and shut up with your furious defence of the hideous crimes against humanity that Israel has and is carrying out against these people.
As a young man I used to admire and look up to the Americans, and cheered as the US cavalry rode over the hill to save the families in their covered wagons surrounded by the bad injuns.

Life has jaded this fine image and I now see the United States highjacked by the jewish lobby (spearheaded by AIPAC) and the fundamentalist Christian right wing. Funding, helping at every turn, aiding and abetting the state of Israel in their inhuman acts against a weak downtrodden people.

Helping the underdog just doesn't seem to form part of the American culture any more.
Help Israel at any cost, blindly veto any UN resolution against them, pressurize any country that criticises Israel, quash all criticism using the age old tactic of "anti semite" and now with the Hamas landslide win threaten to cut off aid and try to blame the win on Fatah's inefectual government instead of seeing things as they are---the win was a roar of furious anger and hate against those that have been trampling on them.

Posted by: Rob | January 31, 2006 01:05 PM

Rob,
I have to agree with much of what you have to say, but, like much of what is said in opposition to you, it is somewhat one-sided.

As I have said before, terror, and all words that have it as a root, are wildly misused and abused. Terror is the tactic of using induced fear to control behavior. What are really at issue are the means and methods used to induce fear. Most people, most religions, would agree that killing innocent civilians for that purpose is unacceptable. Some people, even some variant religions, particularly those without any other effective means of combat, would assert its acceptability out of necessity. Whether or not this particular is acceptable or moral is, in a way, beside the point; it is, in any case, understandable. One could make the same observations about the Israeli practice of bulldozing civilian homes, occupied or not; about the bombing of the King David Hotel almost 60 years ago; and on and on. These kinds of discussions are a fight for the moral high ground, as though that ground will settle, will determine, the victor of the underlying conflict.

Both sides of this conflict can validly claim to what is variously called the Palestinian land or the land of the Jews. It can hardly be denied that Jews have lived in this land for well over 2000 years. It can hardly be denied that Palestinians have lived here as long. It can hardly be denied that over this time outside empires of one form or another have swept over it many times, taken it many times. Ideally both sides should find a way to share this land together, as they have so much of the time in the distant past; but they have not. They cannot even seem to find a way to divide it separately. Still we on the outside know, and they on the inside know, that neither side is able to expel the other and the only real question is how many more people must die and how many more years, even centuries, must pass, before sheer emotional stubbornness yields to the obvious. No one can know this but the parties themselves. It is a stalemate, and realistically, the outside forces arrayed around the parties are also at a stalemate, so no solution from the outside will be forthcoming. It is in Palestinian hands and in Israeli hands, where it best actually remain. No one but you can save you from yourselves.

Once in a while I see on TV pictures of Madrasas in Pakistan with young boys studying the Quran. Once in a while I see on TV pictures of religious schools in Israel with young boys studying the Torah. It always strikes me how alike they look, each young fellow bobbing back and forth to the same rhythm as they speak and memorize the text in front of them. A stranger would be hard pressed to notice a difference.

Posted by: Cayambe | January 31, 2006 08:45 PM

Nice comments Cayambe.
Very measured and worth reading.

Posted by: Rob | January 31, 2006 09:30 PM

Rob,
I would have to say more like "exasperated" than "nice" :o)

This has been an issue driven entirely out of proportion to its actual size ever since the Brits and the UN made the initial mess of it. The Israeli's have worked the European guilt trip with exquisite skill and the Jewish lobby in the US equally well, making it an essential touchstone in our own internal US politics. The Palestinians have played the Arab world with equal skill, making the issue a touchstone of Arab politics, ever so useful for Arab politicians.

But on the whole, the Israelis have done better over the years, perhaps too much better. Following the last blowout, they left their neighbors with very bloody noses and no desire for a rematch and they took control of all the contested land plus some. They traded some for peace to the immediate South, made peace to the immediate East, stabilized the North border and developed a nuclear capability to nullify more distant threats. And once they have submarine delivery capability, it will even nullify ME nuclear threats.

Meanwhile, the PLO came home to the West Bank and Gaza, developed a political structure and a putative government which degenerated into a corrupt something unable to satisfy its own people and too insecure to settle any external issues, to insecure even to maintain internal order. So they remain occupied and at the mercy of the occupiers. The only real power they have is terrorism and this alone will never suffice to expel the Israelis from the land. As an insurgency they have not even come close to the effectiveness of the Iraqi insurgency, despite years and years of half-hearted trying. So we have a very weak hand playing against a much stronger one, and this actually tends to make it harder find an agreement.

I don't actually see it as necessarily a bad thing that Hamas won the election. It depends on whether they can bring some much needed strength to the Palestinian people and their government. Whether they can avoid a civil war with the secular part of the population. Whether they will focus the armed struggle on the Israeli security forces in the West Bank and the vulnerable settlements there instead of suicide attacks inside of Israel. Why they have not already imported Iraqi insurgency tactics, IED's especially, to the West Bank is beyond me. Without a stronger hand they can't really come to the table. That is just the way it works in this world.

I don't think our own policy should favor either side over the other. It is in our National Interest, that lovely phrase whose meaning is always at least a bit nebulous, that this thing quietly grind itself to some sort of conclusion that will actually stick. This conflict has, over the years, managed to thoroughly corrupt our internal politics and to thoroughly corrupt our relations throughout the Middle East with governments and populace alike. It has consumed vast financial resources and diplomatic resources, from us and a myriad of other countries, to do what; to settle an intractable local land dispute, and not even all that much land either. From a strategic point of view, I have never quite figured out why we seem to think we have some strategic interest in this particular place. There is no oil at stake here, or any other critical resource. Israel's military, while dominant within its local reach, is hardly of any practical use to us. It's existence as a State is a source of far more instability than stability. In the cold steely language of national interest, of self-interest, this one just does not find a place, indeed our unbalanced support of Israel has been decidedly contrary to our National Interest in the Middle East.

No, it is political factors, it is religious factors, it is historical guilts and the need to atone for them, that drag us and the rest of the world into this morass. Unfortunately, this hinders far more than it helps. It's time to let the parties deal with it. Arafat is dead, may he rest in peace. Sharon is out of it, may he wake up and enjoy the fresh air on his farm. The Palestinians have had their election and made their choice. The Israeli's will make their choice shortly. At least give them a chance to work it out. It is not going to be the end of the world if they can't. So far we've managed for 58 years with this particular boil festering the whole time. If the Palestinians go back to hijacking international airplanes and blowing them up and that sort of thing, then we have a problem, otherwise, its the Israeli's that have the problem and they are well equipped to deal with it on their own.

In defense of our past policy towards Israel, it was more understandable when Israel was indeed surrounded by relatively larger and stronger Arab forces. But that threatening imbalance disappeared long ago, certainly by the end of the Carter administration. Our policy has not been adjusted to reflect that and this adjustment is long overdue, in my opinion for sure.

Posted by: Cayambe | February 1, 2006 04:24 AM

Mr. Whittington is the only person owed an apology, not the public and most especially not the press. Perhaps some members of the media owe the public an apology for their behavior.

Posted by: Scotty | February 15, 2006 02:49 PM

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.