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Author Topic: Paris on the front lines
Sa'eed
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
I wasn't aware there was a 'triumphant "gotcha!"' styling to the quotation functionality. I'd like that font.


Because you totally didn't intend a "gotcha" with blind quoting of my previous statements, as if merely quoting them blindly was argument enough on your part.

quote:
So it's clear, I've already noted that your constructions don't necessarily mean what I've inferred from them.
Thank you for acknowledging that you might have possibly inferred incorrectly the meaning of my words, or, rather, the meaning of words.

quote:
But I have to point out that your analogy here is slightly flawed. In the incident at hand, the people with whom you identify aren't analogous the people who have just been shoved into the oven in the Holocaust. If I read you correctly, your sole concern is for the potential retaliatory impact against people who are wrongly lumped-in with the terrorists who committed mass murder in the current event. So, a better way to fit this analogy to the current topic would be to refer to the fear of retaliation that Germans who didn't support--but knew about and wouldn't condemn--Nazi policies would have felt: they must have rightly feared the retaliation that would eventually come down on them because of the Holocaust in the event of an Allied victory. Observe that you can't blame such a segment of German citizenry for their anticipatory fear of retaliation in such a case--after all, these are folks who had suffered massively after due to the astringent policies imposed in the wake of World War 1, and indeed, Germanophobia had been around long before the events of the 20th century. Still, if we stipulate that these folks were aware that the Nazis were massacring Jews, and they could only focus on the potential detriment to themselves and people of their own culture, I don't think it would be dumb to observe that such an attitude at least smacks of ethnocentrism.
My point was to draw a parallel between religious minorities existing in cultures with dominant religions and how it's inappropriate to label the concerns of the minorities for their futures and fate as "ethnocentric."
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seekingprometheus
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I'm not labeling you ethnocentric for your concern for the fate and future of your identity group.

I've called your paradigm ethnocentric here for the ethnocentric sh*t you've said here, and pointedly refused to qualify, clarify or retract.

[ November 16, 2015, 04:31 AM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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seekingprometheus
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quote:
Because you totally didn't intend a "gotcha" with blind quoting of my previous statements, as if merely quoting them blindly was argument enough on your part.
*Sarcasm failure alert.*

I wasn't denying such an intent, yo. I was facetiously lamenting the absence of a font to express exactly such an intent.

Merely quoting a couple of instances of you saying pretty much exactly what you were claiming you hadn't said was entirely sufficient for my purposes.

In a more contextualized reality, I understand enough about the potential semantic breadth of specific terminology, and--more importantly--enough about how fundamental authorial intent is in precisely determining subtle nuances of meaning, which is why I've allowed for the possibility of misinterpretation on my part or (less charitably, but more reasonably, I think) poor wording on your part, but you seem pretty determined not to qualify any specific distinction between your hypothetical intent and an entirely reasonable interpretation of your words. So we keep bandying about the theoretical possibility that you might not actually mean exactly what your words do seem to mean.

And I get that you're contending that you can't clarify by expressing any sympathy for the victims in this case, because you think that anything a person of Muslim heritage says that could be construed as sympathizing with the experience of non-Muslim victims of Islamicist terrorism will contribute to anti-Muslim policies by non-Muslim westerners, but frankly, this contention is illogical to the point that I can only imagine it to be sincerely held by someone utterly stupid, or someone trapped in an ethnocentric paradigm, utilizing such a false and ethnocentric caricature of the western model of values, that they're incapable of perceiving the how backwards such an idea is...

...and here's the thing: I don't think you're stupid, and I don't read you as insincere...

So what conclusion do you suppose that leaves us?

[ November 16, 2015, 06:02 AM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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LetterRip
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Interesting post on Quora the other day.

A poster said that as a young man in the Middle East - he saw the corruption in his part of the world, thought that Secular Democracy was the solution and thus advocated the violent overthrow of the corrupt to be replaced with Baathism.

However, other young men saw the corruption in his part of the world, thought that Secular Democracy was a source of the corruption, and thus advocated the violent overthrown of the corrupt to be replaced with a Caliphate.

In his view the violence in the middle east has little to do with the Muslim religion, and a lot to do with the corruption and the perceived need for violent overthrow. Once you hold the view that violent overthrow is needed, then any violence against the corrupt and their 'supporters' can be justified.

As an adult, he realizes that the violent overthrow by the Baathists, and slaughter of political opponents by Saddam simply replaced one corrupt group with another. That those seeking power simply ride the rhetoric and sentiment to gather power to themselves. As a youth though he found the rhetoric and idealogy seductive.

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Pete at Home
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" as if merely quoting them blindly was argument enough on your part"

Depends. Argument enough for what purpose? I think his quote weaving has successfully debunked the counterargument that he's just picking on you for being Muslim (which outcry you aren't except by fundamentalist rules which no one here believes in )

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
quote:
President Barack Obama said that ISIS was 'contained' just a day before the terrorist group claimed responsibility for a horrific attack in Paris that killed 128 people on Friday.

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that aired on Friday's broadcast of Good Morning America, Obama declared that he didn't believe ISIS (also known as ISIL) was gaining strength.

'What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them,' Obama said in the interview.

From the JV comments to just before the Paris attacks, this frigging guy has been disconnected from the reality of the threat. I'd like to think nobody is possibly this stupid but it's getting pretty hard to make the case otherwise.
How much new territory are you suggesting they took in this attack?

Or are you just a bit confused on context here?

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
". I see as much in common between ISIS and a regular Muslim as between an atheist and Stalin"

That analogy fails insofar as there are ours no foundational documents of atheism, (although these days there seem to be no shortage of nimrods trying to provide such a foundation)

While burning alive and some other ISIS features are all their own, a shocking number of horrors such as systematic rape and selling of war captives is actually spelled out in the Koran as instructions on how a Califf is to establish an Islamic State.

If I am wrong on this, please provide links and specifics. If I am right, just insult me and try to silence me the way brainwashes do.

Why don't you, first, cite your claims in this matter? At this point the only possible debunk of your claim would be, in effect, a scholarly analysis of the entire Koran, since you could otherwise always simply claim your reference was somewhere else.

I mean, I could cite the Bible for supporting Fratricide, slaughter of children, and even crucifixion based on selective reading (and one of those doesn't even have to be too selective) but I think you'd probably agree that such claims are way out of context, despite being things that clearly happen at various points.

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Pete at Home
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Like you said, the troublesome **** in the Bible describes past events or at worst prescribes for a different time. The mist troublesome stuff in the Koran Otho otoh dresses instructions for a future date when a new Califate is installed. Your reference to Bible issues and past habit of using personal invective to dodge questions you can't answer make me reluctant to do the work to give precise quotes and citations. If LR or some other established good faith argued wants to take on a serious discussion I will be happy to dig in to do the work. But I am not going to take the time to research and cite when dealing with lightweights.


Any one who wants can, as I did, find pages that are not fanatical right wiwing anti Muslim screeds, that discuss the Koranic underpinnings for ISIS' modes portending. I got my info mostly from Muslim's. Remember that Egyptian kid you and Tom drove off?

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Pete at Home
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Here's a site in English that seems to be written by Muslims for Muslims.




IslaMqa.info/en

Objections?

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Sa'eed
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:


In a more contextualized reality, I understand enough about the potential semantic breadth of specific terminology, and--more importantly--enough about how fundamental authorial intent is in precisely determining subtle nuances of meaning, which is why I've allowed for the possibility of misinterpretation on my part or (less charitably, but more reasonably, I think) poor wording on your part, but you seem pretty determined not to qualify any specific distinction between your hypothetical intent and an entirely reasonable interpretation of your words.

Asserting that I do not care about the victims of the Paris attacks is an unreasonable interpretation of my words in this or any reality, however you would contextualize them.

quote:
So what conclusion do you suppose that leaves us?
Your turgid thought processes are you own and you are free to arrive at whatever position you'd like.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Like you said, the troublesome **** in the Bible describes past events or at worst prescribes for a different time. The mist troublesome stuff in the Koran Otho otoh dresses instructions for a future date when a new Califate is installed.


And those couldn't also be limited by their times and be paid selective attention to out of proportion to their overall relevance by the people who benefit from harping on them?

quote:
Your reference to Bible issues and past habit of using personal invective to dodge questions you can't answer make me reluctant to do the work to give precise quotes and citations.
I very actively avoid personal invective. Unless you're claiming that any form of criticism amounts to investive. I'd love for you to show me making any personal statements bout anyone and not focusing specifically on their arguments. (And I'll specifically note that point out when someone is putting words in my mouth or claiming I said something that I didn't does not qualify here)

If LR or some other established good faith argued wants to take on a serious discussion I will be happy to dig in to do the work. But I am not going to take the time to research and cite when dealing with lightweights.

quote:
Remember that Egyptian kid you and Tom drove off?
I remember the muslim kid. I contest that I had anything to do with driving him off.

Ultimately, you do what you want. My point of the complete unsubstantiation of your open ended claims and the absurdity of your request that someone else proof the enter book to debunk them has been made.

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Pete at Home
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Our, do you accept the source I linked to you a valid source for Muslim scholarship? Don't want to take the time and efforts to cite it just to have you do your thing where you falsely accused me of using Fox News and Anti Muslim sources, as you To. And Al do habitually whenever someone doesn't march to your drummer.
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Pete at Home
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Yes, it's possible that the Koranic verses can be contextualized like the Bible ones. That's why I am looking for someone knowledgeable about the Koran who isn't Molly adverse to sharing knowledge (as you have said you are) and hasn't blown their credibility by making bad faith arguments re the Bible.
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Pete at Home
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Apologies, I typed morally adverse. It came out "Molly" adverse. Sounds very insulting but vague.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Like you said, the troublesome **** in the Bible describes past events or at worst prescribes for a different time. The mist troublesome stuff in the Koran Otho otoh dresses instructions for a future date when a new Califate is installed.


And those couldn't also be limited by their times and be paid selective attention to out of proportion to their overall relevance by the people who benefit from harping on them?

quote:
Your reference to Bible issues and past habit of using personal invective to dodge questions you can't answer make me reluctant to do the work to give precise quotes and citations.
I very actively avoid personal invective. Unless you're claiming that any form of criticism amounts to investive. I'd love for you to show me making any personal statements bout anyone and not focusing specifically on their arguments. (And I'll specifically note that point out when someone is putting words in my mouth or claiming I said something that I didn't does not qualify here)

If LR or some other established good faith argued wants to take on a serious discussion I will be happy to dig in to do the work. But I am not going to take the time to research and cite when dealing with lightweights.

quote:
Remember that Egyptian kid you and Tom drove off?
I remember the muslim kid. I contest that I had anything to do with driving him off.

Ultimately, you do what you want. My point of the complete unsubstantiation of your open ended claims and the absurdity of your request that someone else proof the enter book to debunk them has been made.

If I take the trouble to look up the actual Koranic verses cited by the Muslim authorities who were cited to me by Islamist apologists (mostly Pakistani) will you explain the Koranic context to me or will you just piss me off by giving me some bad faith old testament jerkathon?
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Rafi
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
quote:
President Barack Obama said that ISIS was 'contained' just a day before the terrorist group claimed responsibility for a horrific attack in Paris that killed 128 people on Friday.

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that aired on Friday's broadcast of Good Morning America, Obama declared that he didn't believe ISIS (also known as ISIL) was gaining strength.

'What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them,' Obama said in the interview.

From the JV comments to just before the Paris attacks, this frigging guy has been disconnected from the reality of the threat. I'd like to think nobody is possibly this stupid but it's getting pretty hard to make the case otherwise.
How much new territory are you suggesting they took in this attack?

Or are you just a bit confused on context here?

Let's ask the French. That enough context for you or are you still confused about what happened?
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Pete at Home
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It's a deluded bit of grave dancing to suppose that American gun control laxity had any impact on the massacre in France, which DOES have tight gun restricyion
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Pete at Home
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Can't believe the dim pundits who claim what ISIS' purpose here was to provoke an overreaction. Stoopid. Obviously the hope was that the French would wimp out like Zapatero's Spain did after 3/11. But Holland's France is made of sterner stuff. Rather than Capitulating and running for home like Zapatero, the French are doubling down
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
quote:
President Barack Obama said that ISIS was 'contained' just a day before the terrorist group claimed responsibility for a horrific attack in Paris that killed 128 people on Friday.

In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that aired on Friday's broadcast of Good Morning America, Obama declared that he didn't believe ISIS (also known as ISIL) was gaining strength.

'What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them,' Obama said in the interview.

From the JV comments to just before the Paris attacks, this frigging guy has been disconnected from the reality of the threat. I'd like to think nobody is possibly this stupid but it's getting pretty hard to make the case otherwise.
How much new territory are you suggesting they took in this attack?

Or are you just a bit confused on context here?

Let's ask the French. That enough context for you or are you still confused about what happened?
You're claiming that ISIS conquered some portion of France? I mean, that's what they would have had to do to contradict the claim that they're losing territory as you're suggesting it does.

The claim was that ISIS has been prevented from gaining territory (and has, in fact lost territory) not that it couldn't pull off small terroristic stunts, something that was well within its capabilities with a fraction of it's current holdings.

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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
Can't believe the dim pundits who claim what ISIS' purpose here was to provoke an overreaction

Of course it is. That's the bread and butter of all of the middle eastern terrorism groups and what they apply the attacks in the first place. Get the evil outsiders to prove how evil and oppressive they are, so they can justify domestic oppression to defend themselves.

That's why they're trashing historical sites as well, not because of any ideology, but because they know it will draw anger and attacks to try to stop them.

They're like the hydra. Every attack we make on them makes the stronger. The collateral damage we cause brings more people into their fold than they could ever hope to try to recruit on their own.

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Fenring
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Hannover Stadium in Germany has just been evacuated after police received information leading them to suspect a terror plot. I've heard reports that a vehicle containing explosive was found but I don't know if there's confirmation. This might have been a second attack averted.
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cherrypoptart
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Sorry if this has already been mentioned but one piece of good news I heard on the radio is that since France was attacked by ISIS by treaty all nations in the European Union are required to defend France and attack ISIS to the best of their abilities. We shall see what happens and if that treaty is worth the paper upon which it's written.
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TomDavidson
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How do treaties intersect with attacks by non-state actors?
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cherrypoptart
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Do we have to try to figure out what IS stands for again?

First Obama insists that they aren't Islamic.

And now apparently they aren't a state either...

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TomDavidson
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They want very much for people to believe that they are an Islamic State, even the Islamic state. But neither is true. They are neither a state nor of Islam.
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seekingprometheus
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They're not recognized as a state. And they're not Islam per se, in the sense that a tiny subset of Islam doesn't by any means define the totality of Islam.

But that preposition "of" as used above doesn't seem to be correct. They claim to be a part of Islam. They claim that their actions are based in Islamic law, and that their interpretation of Islamic law is the correct one. Other Muslim scholars may claim that their interpretation of Islamic law is incorrect, and that their actions are contrary to Islamic law, but until Allah comes down from his most high perch in superstitious human imagination to settle the question of whose fiqh represents the true fiqh, it's really just a sectarian dispute between different factions of Islam. There isn't a group of Muslims who have the universal Islamic authority to define who is and who is not part of Islam.

Non-Muslims certainly don't have the authority to define who is and who is not part of Islam based on their own preferences, except insofar as they speak in terms of their own personal definition of Islam.

[ November 17, 2015, 09:52 PM: Message edited by: seekingprometheus ]

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seekingprometheus
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Pete:

The point of terrorism is always to provoke a reaction.

The point of Islamist terrorism almost always appears to me to be to provoke a retaliation that will drag non-participants into a conflict; this conflict is the narrative such acts seek to reify.

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Animist
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Pete, why on earth is it implausible that they're trying to provoke a reaction? I can think of at least three ways ISIS benefits from increased French/Western involvement in Syria:

1. The obvious one. Foreign war costs money, and ISIS benefits from bleeding Western treasuries beyond their ability/willingness to pay.

2. The other obvious one. The more involved Western nations become in Syria the easier it is to kill us. ISIS are incredibly media/culturally savvy. I would bet that they are not only salivating at the chance to kill more Crusaders in their homelands, but they also know how disruptive prolonged war with heavy casualties can be to contemporary Western societies at the social level.

3. The long shot. Right now, Russia and France are cooperating. But the war with ISIS is currently 3 sided. No, really, it's like 10 sided, but we can simplify and say it's 3 sided. On one side, ISIS. On the other side, the Russians, Iranians, Syrians, Hezbollah and Iraqis. On the third other side, the Syrian rebels, the Kurds and the Turks (who are also fighting each other), the Gulf nations, and the Western allies, and the Iraqis (again.)

The more Western powers become involved in Syria, the greater the likelihood that they will come into conflict with the OTHER anti-ISIS coalition. ISIS may be counting on that-- actually, they may be hoping to make it happen. It's not hard to imagine a scenario where French or American forces think they're under attack by Hezbollah, and retaliate, leading to escalation by Iran.

In other words, they may be trying to start World War III.

Of course, that's just speculation, and the other possibility is the one you suggested, which is that they're trying to force France to pull a Spain. Another possibility is that they have no strategy but are sewing chaos for its own sake. It may also be the case that they're trying to provoke a French government against the local Muslim population, further ostracizing the French Muslims from wider French society-- thus leaving them more open to radicalism.

Or it may be that they've accounted for all of these possibilities, and are planning on taking advantage of whatever opens up. A large number of ISIS recruits are Western-born and educated. They're smart, and they know how we think.

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Fenring
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So far the only people who seem to want to start WWIII are those saying we should shoot down Russian planes.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by seekingprometheus:
Pete:

The point of terrorism is always to provoke a reaction.

The point of Islamist terrorism almost always appears to me to be to provoke a retaliation that will drag non-participants into a conflict; this conflict is the narrative such acts seek to reify.

Of course it is to provoke a reaction.

I believe ISIS intended to provoke the reaction which they SAY was their intent to provoke. To get France out of the Syrian war.

That would make sense, given the fact that stated objective exactly matches what the Spanish did after 3/11, WITHDRAW FROM ARMED CONFLICTS WITH ISLAMISTS.

since ISIS's stated objective is consistent with the historical effect of attacks on Europeans, it seems stupid to leave that out of our motive calculations.

...

Welcome back, Animist. Missed you.

Of course they have a motive. They stated their motive. Why do Americans always ignore and reinvent the terrorist's stated demands? I mean, I know die hard and die hard 3,we're cool movies but life does not always Imitate high art. Maybe that's why American cops are more likely than any other cops in the world to get the hostage killed when the family has the ransom ready to pay. Gotta have that drama and complexity. Isis says they just want the west to stop fighting it in Iraq and Syria but it can't be that simple. They must have some secret dark motive. Ed wood wept

[ November 18, 2015, 02:27 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
They want very much for people to believe that they are an Islamic State, even the Islamic state. But neither is true. They are neither a state nor of Islam.

OK, I will bite. Why is ISIS "not a state"? Because the UN doesn't recognise them as a state? Was the confederacy a state? How about Afghanistan under the Taliban?


As for them being Muslim, you are the one who told me I had no right to question that or to ask if they were apostate Judie ... Have you changed position on that? Agreed they don't represent the totality of Islam. But I have not met any Pakistani or Wahabbi Muslim's that could distinguish their beliefs from ISIS' regarding what a legitimate validate should or should not do. The problem is not ALL of Islam but the disease is much bigger than present membership of ISIS.

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TomDavidson
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How many Pakistani Muslims have you met and put to the question, Pete?
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ScottF
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"It’s like a bad Monty Python sketch:"

“We did this because our holy texts exhort us to to do it.”

“No you didn’t.”

“Wait, what? Yes we did…”

“No, this has nothing to do with religion. You guys are just using religion as a front for social and geopolitical reasons.”

“WHAT!? Did you even read our official statement? We give explicit Quranic justification. This is jihad, a holy crusade against pagans, blasphemers, and disbelievers.”

“No, this is definitely not a Muslim thing. You guys are not true Muslims, and you defame a great religion by saying so.”

“Huh!? Who are you to tell us we’re not true Muslims!? Islam is literally at the core of everything we do, and we have implemented the truest most literal and honest interpretation of its founding texts. It is our very reason for being.”

“Nope. We created you. We installed a social and economic system that alienates and disenfranchises you, and that’s why you did this. We’re sorry.”

“What? Why are you apologizing? We just slaughtered you mercilessly in the streets. We targeted unwitting civilians – disenfranchisement doesn’t even enter into it!”

“Listen, it’s our fault. We don’t blame you for feeling unwelcome and lashing out.”

“Seriously, stop taking credit for this! We worked really hard to pull this off, and we’re not going to let you take it away from us.”

“No, we nourished your extremism. We accept full blame.”

“OMG, how many people do we have to kill around here to finally get our message across?”

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JeSuisse
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quote:
I believe ISIS intended to provoke the reaction which they SAY was their intent to provoke. To get France out of the Syrian war.
Hmmm. Seems unlikely to me. France isn't Spain, and is (and was) involved in various modern conflicts before.

How about trying to provoke exactly what is always happening - retaliation, preferably something like bombing IS targets where innocent bystanders will be killed, thus giving IS an opportunity for anti-west propaganda (Support us, the evil west is killing your brothers and sisters!).

How about trying to fragment our liberal societies? France already has problems with disillusioned young, poor banlieue inhabitants (though I was under the impression that most of them are north africans from the old french territories). In fact, this is the social sphere out of which, if remember correctly, the Charlie Hebdo terrorists and some of the current terrorists came. So if you can bring the French right wingers to heap all of them together with the terrorists, this will drive more of them to your cause.

I think these two trains of thought are much more likely in the heads of the people who wanted these attacks to happen. Both these consequences are likely to happen if past human behaviour in similar situations is any guide.

In contrast, getting France out of the Syrian war via a terrorist attack (or two) is a rather long shot. Look at the 20th century history of how France dealt with terrorism (it's decolonization wars are perhaps instructive).

Then again, it's a win-win situation for the IS, isn't it? Both outcomes serve them well.

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Fenring
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On the whole, if retributive bombing of ISIS was the desired result of the Paris attack then I don't really see why ISIS would want that. The idea that they want to be bombed for recruitment purposes carries with it the implication that the bombings don't significantly harm them and the recruiting helps them, which is a net win for them. I don't really see how this is possible, though, since according to what we're being told the bombings are taking out training facilities and some of their leaders. What good are recruits without training facilities?

If we really want to assume that the attack was meant to generate backlash against ISIS then it seems more likely to me that Syria, Iraq or Russia would be interested in that result; much more so than ISIS itself.

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Animist
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Thanks Pete. Been a while, eh?

quote:
Of course they have a motive. They stated their motive.
But of course, I'm not talking about their motive. I'm talking about their strategy, which, it seems to me, they would be less likely to broadcast. I think it's important to try to figure it out, so that we can respond effectively. That's sort of a basic principle of war, yeah?

I'm not saying I have any idea what to do in response. I honestly don't know. Probably the answer needs to be either a massive military commitment or a complete withdrawal from the region, both of which are politically impossible and both of which would have severe economic consequences.

Actually I think the only real response to get used to the idea that we've arrived, as is common enough historically, at an age in which civilized societies are threatened by barbarian hordes. Then we have to decide how to counter the barbarians. The options-- it seems to me-- are by expanding our already massive, intrusively and extremely expensive surveillance state, or by accepting responsibility as individuals and communities for our own defense. (If the latter seems unrealistic, it's worth remembering that individuals acting in their own defense have so far been much more effective than governments at stopping terrorism-- the only plane stopped on 9/11 was stopped by the people on board, not the USAF.)

Of course we all know that none of this matters, and the actual debate is between increasing our ineffective air and special forces commitment by a little or by a little bit more. In the meantime, I guess

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cherrypoptart
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I didn't really appreciate the way Obama has been handling ISIS but if by his inaction it causes this power vacuum to be filled by the French, Russians, and perhaps other E.U. countries are are treaty bound to assist France the end result of wiping out ISIS will still be achieved but without significant numbers of U.S. casualties, perhaps even without any at all. I have to admit letting other countries start pulling their own weight in the war on terror instead of the U.S. always doing the heavy lifting and bearing the brunt of the cost in lives and dollars certainly has its appeal.

Perhaps sitting around and doing nothing while watching everyone else do the same was the right thing to do. It was like a staring contest and Obama won. There is no other leader out there who is as adept at sitting around and doing nothing as our own illustrious Obama. Hollande and Putin never had a chance. While I always assumed it was just laziness in fact it was sheer genius. Very impressive.

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Animist
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quote:
In the meantime, I guess
I have no idea how that sentence was supposed to end.
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JeSuisse
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Bombing training facilities sounds good to me. And if they achieve that, hooray!

But I doubt it's that simple. When you say training facilities, I picture a few tents somewhere in the desert. Maybe a pickup truck or two. Bombing these camps won't kill innocent bystanders, so the net effect is a handful of dead IS recruits and the loss of some materiel, but probably nothing major. Even so, good. It might take a day or two to get a new training camp set up. Training facilities are basically just places big enough to run around, learn to assemble, disassemble and aim ak-47s, and house a few dozen people for sleeping and eating, right? They're not like US army bases.

If, on the other hand, the training facilities are sitting somewhere in the middle of a village or a city (which is where I would put them to protect them from air strikes), then there will be collateral damage. Good propaganda for ISIS, bad propaganda for us. Again, little damage to the ISIS, which currently has a seemingly unlimited supply of money and a pick of any building or building complex they want in any of the cities and villages they control.

If the bombings are actually taking out leaders, good. But they'll probably also take out the family with ten kids living right next door. That's both a human tragedy and bad propaganda for us. That's the trouble with bombs; can't really tell who they'll hit. Also, many of the ISIS leaders are ex-iraqi military officers who have been insurgents in Iraq, so they're experienced and by now it's probably fairly difficult to kill them them with an air strike.

I'm no expert on the current state of the ISIS, but I seem to remember that when it became a player in the region, one of the problems was that it was hard to hit back - they used very effective tactics that made them hard to tell apart from civilians before and after an attack. Maybe that's become easier now that they all seem to drive around in stolen Humvees in the pictures we see.

What I don't see is how you can launch a full-scale attack against them that would actually hurt them a lot. You can't bomb the cities they hold, because most of the inhabitants are civilians too poor to flee (granted some of them support ISIS, I don't have any idea what the numbers are here - but does that make it okay to carpet-bomb a city?). Anyway, if you did launch a ground attack, I'm assuming the ISIS soldiers would melt away into the civilian population if they encountered a force that could actually beat them, and threaten the locals to kill them if they helped the foreigners.

So my intuition is that whatever is achieved by bombing, it probably won't seriously hurt ISIS without also generating a huge backlash against the west in the local population. I'm thinking that we'd need a lot of good intelligence and ground operations to take out important people and materiel fast enough and reestablish law and order, but that reminds me a lot of the kind of asymmetric war that the US had to fight in Iraq, and I don't see the Europeans or the Americans willing to commit to such a course of action in the near future. to my knowledge, the peshmerga are currently still the most effective group fighting the IS, but maybe my knowledge is outdated.

We might hope that as ISIS becomes more like an actual state, with a clear territory, important infrastructure, borders that are defended by something like regular troops, and a government that actually cares about protecting its citizens and abides by its own laws, even if fairly incomprehensible ones, then it will be exposed enough to be defeated. But I think we're nowhere near that stage yet, and probably never will be.

Of course I might be completely wrong. I'm just your average armchair expert. I'm interested in your ideas on how to fight the ISIS effectively.

Whatever the strategy, I think that military action is necessary, but only a small part of the solution, and no solution whatsoever to the terrorist attacks. ScottF made it sound ridiculous, but I *do* believe that alienation and disenfranchisement are a big part of why people *JOIN* ISIS, and also why they become terrorists. I watched one of Trump's election speeches today, and what hit me was that he promised everyone exactly what they wanted to hear - how the US was going to become a paradise with every single problem fixed pretty much the day after he took office. In fact, some things would be fixed even *before* he took office, if he just got elected. It's impossible to do all that, and it should be clear to everyone who listens to him, and yet everyone cheered him. He's selling a dream. They *want* to believe it. I think that's a big part of how ISIS works too - they're promising alienated, disenfranchised people that they'll create paradise on earth and all that's needed to be part of it is to join them and fight with them against those they blame for the current godless state of the world (the liberal, secular democracies and the traitors to Islam, both of which just don't understand that we would all be much better off if we just went back to the golden age of the dark ages).

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by Animist:
quote:
In the meantime, I guess
I have no idea how that sentence was supposed to end.
Perhaps your unfinished sentence was meant to channel the lack of a coherent plan of action by the Western powers.
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