Author Topic: Fear trumps facts  (Read 22675 times)

Greg Davidson

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Fear trumps facts
« on: December 19, 2015, 12:00:25 PM »
Testing this line of thought - comments, anyone?

In the battle of narratives, history shows that fear is a powerful motivator. Donald Trump is tapping into fear and converting it in to anger, and reaping the appreciation of voters who prefer to be angry over being scared.  This narrative cannot be countered by facts, because ultimately it is an emotional transaction. The counter-argument is an emotional truth: Trump's support is driven largely by fear, or more bluntly, by cowardice. Cowards value talk of "winners' because they feel like losers. For them, fear trumps facts. And so the right response is not fact-checking, it is calling them out for what they are.

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2015, 12:29:04 PM »
It's unfortunate that people's views on important issues are too often guided by emotional factors like fear and faith.  In order to convince someone with an emotional point of view to change a closely held opinion you have to give them overwhelming arguments based on fact or sway them with an even more powerful emotional argument.  If the facts are equivocal or there is a counter-argument based on different facts, people will stick with their emotional urges and be unpersuaded. 

The brilliance of FOX and other hyper-partisan news outlets, blogs and organizations is that they know that almost any counter-argument that can't be proved will leave them holding a commitment to their emotional view.  That's why what Trump says can mean that he is both a disingenuous and mendacious clown and at the same time potentially the biggest ally of ISIS and other anti-American groups in the world, and yet his followers refuse to budge from his candidacy.  Facts just aren't powerful enough to overcome their loyalty to him because their fears aren't assuaged by the arguments against what he says, however clear and correct they may be.

Wayward Son

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2015, 12:51:43 PM »
It's worse than you thought, AI.  Not only are such counter-arguments ineffective, but they actually strengthen the argument to the person. 

Thus you see Donald Trump doubling-down on his recollection of seeing Muslims dancing in New Jersey. :(

Fenring

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2015, 01:57:10 PM »
I seem to recall a certain Democratic candidate running on a platform whose thesis was "yes we can." That seems to me the epitome of an emotional appeal, although I'll grant you that it's an appeal to positive emotions like hope rather than to fear. At first glance that would appear to be a vital difference, except for two points: 1) Any kind of emotional appeal can be seen as manipulation, and picking and choosing which kinds of manipulation are 'nice' and which 'aren't nice' seems a little arbitrary. 2) As the ancient Greeks used to say (e.g. Hesiod) hope can be the worst evil of all if it's allowed to be let down. The morale bust on failed hope leaves people worse off than where they started without it.

That being said while I don't disagree that Trump uses manipulative language while sometimes skirting details in his plans, I could point out that in reality it would be foolish to expect a Presidential candidate to already have a fleshed out notion of how to accomplish an 'internet lockdown' until he could actually confer with the FBI, CIA and NSA along with his Presidential strategy team and legal experts. I don't see how it's feasible to expect minute details on how to conduct expulsion and then repatriation of the illegal residents in America without first having serious meetings that only a President could have. Also, I think the 'Muslim ban' is a bit overhyped, since as I understand it Trump's idea is to stop travel of Muslims only temporarily so that the issues of how to vet for terrorists can be solved. Granted this sounds a little far-fetched to me, but in terms of representing the people of America I suspect many people actually do feel this way even though they may be concerned about exclaiming it out loud. It's not that I applaud this position, but if people actually believe it already then for a candidate to seek that vote is sort of just how politics works.

I'd also like to mention that in the fear-anger camp I wouldn't even put Trump in the top four of GOP candidates who employ this tactic as their main weapon. Graham, Christie, Kasich, Fiorina, and even Cruz employ far stronger fear-anger imagery than Trump ever does, and they also have extraordinarily more aggressive methods in mind to deal with foreign policy. Some of these guys are bona fide maniacs like a bomb-de-bomb Trashcan Man. I guess you're singling out Trump because he bothers you in other way than merely his rhetoric and because he's popular, but purely in terms of his rhetoric and ideas I don't think he's the main anger mongerer in the group by a longshot. He's in there, of course, but not the one I'd be talking about if this was my chief concern.

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2015, 02:24:45 PM »
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I seem to recall a certain Democratic candidate running on a platform whose thesis was "yes we can." That seems to me the epitome of an emotional appeal, although I'll grant you that it's an appeal to positive emotions like hope rather than to fear.
What is the counter-factual argument to that :)?
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That being said while I don't disagree that Trump uses manipulative language while sometimes skirting details in his plans, I could point out that in reality it would be foolish to expect a Presidential candidate to already have a fleshed out notion of how to accomplish an 'internet lockdown' until he could actually confer with the FBI, CIA and NSA along with his Presidential strategy team and legal experts.
Yes, but if he has no *censored*ing clue how to do it or whether it even can be done, it's worse than foolish for him to claim it and a weakness in his supporters that they somehow believe that "Yes, he can." His motto, in fact, is "Yes, I can!!!"
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I'd also like to mention that in the fear-anger camp I wouldn't even put Trump in the top four of GOP candidates who employ this tactic as their main weapon. Graham, Christie, Kasich, Fiorina, and even Cruz employ far stronger fear-anger imagery than Trump ever does, and they also have extraordinarily more aggressive methods in mind to deal with foreign policy. Some of these guys are bona fide maniacs like a bomb-de-bomb Trashcan Man. I guess you're singling out Trump because he bothers you in other way than merely his rhetoric and because he's popular, but purely in terms of his rhetoric and ideas I don't think he's the main anger mongerer in the group by a longshot. He's in there, of course, but not the one I'd be talking about if this was my chief concern.
I agree that they are each more dangerous than the next and talk in circles trying to one-up each other.  The reason that Trump gets all the attention and Graham gets none is obvious.

Fenring

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2015, 02:50:22 PM »
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I seem to recall a certain Democratic candidate running on a platform whose thesis was "yes we can." That seems to me the epitome of an emotional appeal, although I'll grant you that it's an appeal to positive emotions like hope rather than to fear.
What is the counter-factual argument to that :)?

The fact that we didn't. It doesn't refute "we can", but it just means that the emotion appealed to didn't translate into an actual course of action. You can point to the ACA if you like as an example of "we did it!" but I don't see that as the cornerstone of a new America. Obama's Presidency was complete status quo, and I think this letdown resonates even with many Democratic voters who were hoping for real change. Sanders, for instance, appeals to that crowd, and I suspect many who were original Obama supporters are backing Bernie now for similar reasons, hoping he'll be the real thing.

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Yes, but if he has no *censored*ing clue how to do it or whether it even can be done, it's worse than foolish for him to claim it and a weakness in his supporters that they somehow believe that "Yes, he can." His motto, in fact, is "Yes, I can!!!

The primaries are a time when candidates throw out ideas and say what they think. This shouldn't be confused with real policy proposals, which are far more arduous to get done. Trump thinks that something needs to be done to fight ISIS on the internet. He's pretty much the only one saying it, and it's not at all a bad idea. If he doesn't yet know how to do this I can only fault him for not being a technologist, but in principle it seems silly to accuse him of not knowing how to do something that frankly should be done. You may as well call out politicians saying we need to find alternative energy sources and yell at them for "not even knowing what those are yet." That's the point of suggesting a new course of action - finding out if and how it can be done. Maybe one day Trump will learn that waging an internet war against ISIS is impossible. That would be too bad, but that doesn't make his position now stupid or make him a liar.

As far as "yes we can" versus "yes I can", I think you'll find the electorate is more interested in a strong leader than a strong electorate. This isn't a healthy mindset but I think it's prevalent. It's the good old line by Anakin in Star Wars Ep 2 where he bemoans the uselessness of the senate and wishes there was a man who could get things done. That piece of clever dialogue (one of Anakin's few good moments) was meant to reflect a growing sense in America of the desire for autocrats as opposed to representation by the people, even if that means Congressional quagmires. In my opinion the blame for this should go towards the electorate, not towards the men willing to step in and provide the strong leader the people apparently clamor for. Too few people come into contact with authors like OSC or Frank Herbert to realize they should beware of strong leaders.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2015, 02:53:37 PM by Fenring »

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2015, 12:59:58 PM »
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Obama's Presidency was complete status quo, and I think this letdown resonates even with many Democratic voters who were hoping for real change.
More that the immovable and relentlessly obstructionist opposition produced a seeming status quo that is more the stagnant quo.
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The primaries are a time when candidates throw out ideas and say what they think. This shouldn't be confused with real policy proposals, which are far more arduous to get done. Trump thinks that something needs to be done to fight ISIS on the internet. He's pretty much the only one saying it, and it's not at all a bad idea.
That doesn't absolve him of the responsibility to speak, well, responsibly.  I can't think of a single one of his specific proposals that would be feasible to do without violating a host of laws and Constitutional guarantees. But if they could be done they would fracture society along a number of prejudicial lines.
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As far as "yes we can" versus "yes I can", I think you'll find the electorate is more interested in a strong leader than a strong electorate.
Until they get one, because they usually discover that they are left out of his (so far, always a he) attentions.

Greg Davidson

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2015, 02:08:06 AM »
Status quo?

The largest stimulus package in generations (including the largest government investments in clean energy that have, oddly enough, been followed by surprising levels of growth in clean energy)? Restructuring GM (successfully)? Recovering all $700B of TARP (with a surplus)? Obamacare? Relations with Cuba? A deliberative approach to permit gays to serve openly in the military, contributing to a general recognition of gay rights and gay marriage?  A deal that eliminated Iran's plutonium production capability, removed 97% of the enriched uranium from the country, eliminated 2/3rds of the centrifuges and put into place 24/7 inspections of all known nuclear sites?

How much of that would you have predicted based on the prior status quo?

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2015, 08:49:45 AM »
You're right about those things and many others, as well.  I was answering in terms of the "WE" in "Yes, We Can", which includes all of government to effect the will of the people.  Except that it doesn't include Republicans, whose motto has been "No, We Won't!", so his motto should be retroactively amended to "Yes, I will keep trying".
« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 08:52:04 AM by AI Wessex »

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2015, 10:15:46 AM »
In honor of the many implausible, infeasable and impossible proposals Trump has made during his foray into the politics business, I humbly suggest the title of this thread be slightly changed to Trump Fears Facts.

Seriati

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2015, 02:09:10 PM »
Donald Trump is tapping into fear and converting it in to anger, and reaping the appreciation of voters who prefer to be angry over being scared.
Fascinating what you focus on.  I've heard each of Hillary and Bernie state some version of Trump being ISIS's best recruiter.  Pretty clear call to fear for motivation of their voter base.  Every single election there's a call for fear with respect to the appointment of the next SC Justice that goes out on the left.  Like I said, interesting what you choose to focus on.

I actually attribute Trump's statements more to his personality than a carefully crafted call to fear, I could see Cruz do something like that.  With Trump, I'm not sure he actually knows what's going to come out of his mouth much before any of the rest of us.  He certainly is repeating conversations that are happening at the level of the people.  I've talked to scared people, plenty of them, and well before Trump did anything that could be construed as putting an idea in their head. 

Maybe a better question, than why is Trump addressing it - poorly - is why aren't the more savvy politicians addressing it well?  The President's message?  We're going to do more of the same - even though its not working and your scared. 

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2015, 02:21:36 PM »
I think Obama is addressing problems with measured responses and approaches.  Obviously, nobody on the GOP side wants to give him even a shred of praise, but they go way beyond criticizing what he says and does.  They are collectively endangering the safety and well-being of the nation.  Anyone who tries to excuse their reprehensible conduct, as you are, is abetting them.  Let's hope Hillary is wrong about Trump helping ISIS out, but I've read many analyses of the current GOP campaign from across the world that say he is doing exactly that.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 02:25:22 PM by AI Wessex »

Seriati

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2015, 03:19:42 PM »
I think Obama is addressing problems with measured responses and approaches.
That are completely consistent with the same retreating philosophy he's always had.  I'd be more inclined to agree with you, if his trend arrow wasn't absolutely pointed the same direction regardless of circumstance.
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Obviously, nobody on the GOP side wants to give him even a shred of praise, but they go way beyond criticizing what he says and does.  They are collectively endangering the safety and well-being of the nation.
You should go back and read the comments on the prior board from the time of the Bush Presidency and how well regarded on the left, this idea you are now espousing actually was.  I would be absolutely surprised if you yourself didn't criticize the "Right's your with us or against us" philosophy personally. 

This President is a consistent danger to the long term interests of this country, as a result of his decisions.  This is not a surface level analysis issue.
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Anyone who tries to excuse their reprehensible conduct, as you are, is abetting them.  Let's hope Hillary is wrong about Trump helping ISIS out, but I've read many analyses of the current GOP campaign from across the world that say he is doing exactly that.
Can you turn the /whine off?  Seriously.  One party has the presidency the other does not.  It is not disloyalty to the country  to call bad policies to question, now, anymore than it was 8 years ago.  If you want to argue the policies, please feel free to do so, I spent a heck of a lot of time arguing the policy (rather than making bad faith attacks) when the shoe was on the other foot.

Pete at Home

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2015, 06:40:59 PM »
Setting aside the obvious fact that Trump is Clinton's straw man, Obama is Trump's greatest recruiter.  Americans are sick of the head in the sand "work dispute" assessment of Islamist terror.  Yes, Reagan and the Bushes were more servile to the Islamist's than Obama is, but they were more subtle about it.  Obama scarcely pretends to be on our side.

Pete at Home

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2015, 06:54:34 PM »
I think Obama is addressing problems with measured responses and approaches.  Obviously, nobody on the GOP side wants to give him even a shred of praise, but they go way beyond criticizing what he says and does.  They are collectively endangering the safety and well-being of the nation.  Anyone who tries to excuse their reprehensible conduct, as you are, is abetting them.  Let's hope Hillary is wrong about Trump helping ISIS out, but I've read many analyses of the current GOP campaign from across the world that say he is doing exactly that.

Not sure what is more flatulent: your appeal to fear by linking Trump to ISIS without explaining how Trump supposedly helps them, or your claim to unspecified authorities "around the world.". I am sure we can find sources around the world to say Obama is Muslim, that JFK's brain was taken by aliens, that Jew's and the trilateral commission invented genital crabs ... There are idiots around the world who will say anything, Al.  Give facts a chance. Give logic a chance. Authority worship sucks, but the worship of unspecified authorities is a new low for Ornery.
Don't go there.

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2015, 08:42:42 PM »
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Give facts a chance. Give logic a chance. Authority worship sucks, but the worship of unspecified authorities is a new low for Ornery.
Talk about unselfawareness and overreach...

This is a reliable source for commentary on the Middle East.  He says:
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Trump on Sunday denied that any such Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) video exists, and said of Clinton, “she lies like crazy.”

But Sec. Clinton did not say that Daesh had made videos featuring Trump. She said that they were simply showing people Islamophobic Trump videos.

That is, Sec. Clinton is maintaining that the Trump campaign videos or his appearances on television reproduced at YouTube are so offensive to Muslims that he has relieved Daesh of the labor involved in making recruiting videos.

I do not know if it is true that Daesh is showing people Trump videos. I’d say it is unnecessary. Trump’s message is being widely broadcast in the Muslim world, on television news shows, on radio, in newspapers, and on social media. Daesh wouldn’t have to lift a finger to make sure most Muslims heard that Trump wants to close mosques, considers Muslims terrorists until proven innocent, and wants to ban them from entering the United States. Most Americans have no idea how saturated Arab media is with US politics and culture. On Alarabiya in Arabic (Dubai) I just saw a news clip about the Clinton -Trump tiff over Islamophobia and Daesh, followed by a piece on Star Wars along with a review. Then the news veered off toward important subjects such as the carnage in Yemen and Syria on the ground.

Sec. Clinton’s overall point is correct. Daesh is attempting to convince mainstream Muslims to join a holy war against the United States on the grounds that the US hates Muslims and is persecuting them and wants to wipe them out. Most mainstream Muslims, however much they dislike US foreign policy on issues like keeping the Palestinians stateless and allowing Israel to steal their land and homes, know very well that most Americans have nothing against Muslims.

Daesh has to overcome Muslim insouciance toward the US. It has to convince Muslims that the US as a whole is satanic. So Trump does in fact feed into the Daesh narrative about the US, and so is inevitably useful to them for recruitment purposes.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 08:50:57 PM by AI Wessex »

Pete at Home

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2015, 09:27:08 PM »
"inevitably useful to them for recruitment purposes."

So you won't whine when I come back in 3.weeks and ask you for evidence that the "inevitable" has occurred?

Mind you, I do think that Trump's proposal would feed into DAESH' hands, but neither you nor Clinton nor your news trough has presented a plausible mechanism. Your whole PC construct of DAESH being fueled by western cultural insensitivity ... fails to persuade me. 

The reason that Trimp's proposal is strategic harakiri isn't that it's boo hoo offensive.  Trump screws our Muslim allies in Kurdistan and Jordan, you know, the folks actually doing the fighting against DAESH and getting beheaded and burned and betrayed by Obama but fighting on notwithstanding.  The only hope we offer them is that if they fight the good fight we might take them in as refugees when Sarah takes their lands.  What Trump proposes is the greatest betrayal since Roosevelt promised to turn our eastern European allies in arms over to Stalin's tender mercies after WWII. 

Fenring

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #17 on: December 21, 2015, 10:45:39 PM »
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Sec. Clinton’s overall point is correct. Daesh is attempting to convince mainstream Muslims to join a holy war against the United States on the grounds that the US hates Muslims and is persecuting them and wants to wipe them out.

Wow, this clown can't even keep his propaganda straight. I guess when the truth is avoided so regularly it takes a gifted thinker to remember which story to tell when. The goal of ISIS is not to declare war on America, or destroy America, or to triumph over the American materialist infidels. In fact, ISIS seems to not care much about America at all, which is perhaps vexing to some who see themselves as the arch-nemesis of all terrorists everywhere. The story this guy is telling (whoever he is, the link means nothing to my browser) must be the narrative he meant to invoke regarding Al Qaeda. I can see how one could confuse those two, but I guess he missed the memo about Al Qaeda not being America's great enemy any more. In fact they're even eligible to be American assets again now that everyone's forgotten about them.

Funny how this anti-Trump pro-Hillary snippet feeds right into the same fear-mongering that GOP candidates such as Graham are accused of spewing. "If we don't put boots on the ground there they'll put boots on the ground here." Indeed, it seems neither side can keep their story straight. I thought it was Hillary's position that ISIS began as a revolution to depose the tyrant Assad and that they got out of control. Now the story is that ISIS is hell-bent on destroying America. I suppose the next story will be that Assad is hell-bent on destroying America which is why he "has to go."

In order to make sense of all the narratives told so far about ISIS and Syria so far we'd have to employ a multiverse model, since a timeline in one dimension can't nearly fit them all.

Pete at Home

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #18 on: December 21, 2015, 11:30:50 PM »
DAESH  is determined to destroy all nations eventually, but the USA is way down the line.

It's stated reason for attacking Paris was to make France withdraw from fighting. This is plausible because that's the exact effect the 3/11 Antics attack on Spain under Zapatero. Fortunately the French are made of stronger stuff than Spaniards.
 

NobleHunter

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2015, 11:17:49 AM »
If they can sucker the US (or France) into a ground war, it makes it easier for Daesh to cast themselves as defenders of Islam against Western Imperialism and lets them smear their opponents as tools of those same Imperialists. Likewise, the fact that the GOP obsesses over the threat of "islamic" terrorists makes it easier to argue that Muslims need to join Daesh's "caliphate" in order to resist the enemies of Islam. There doesn't need to be a specific mechanism for this to work because the mainstream media does an excellent job of disseminating exactly what the GOP candidates think about Islam.

Fenring

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2015, 12:38:27 PM »
Ground war against ISIS is no simple matter. They entrench themselves in populated areas, which plays to the kind of question posed to Cruz in the last GOP debate about whether or not he'd 'carpet bomb' major cities to eliminate ISIS. They don't have a standing military that exists outside of populated zones; at least not entirely. A ground war with them would entail a civilian bloodbath since they basically hold the captured populations hostage. What do you do in a major hostage situation? The options are to negotiate, to go in and hope not too many hostages die, or to kill the hostages along with ISIS. None of these are attractive options, and the downside of a ground war with ISIS isn't the propaganda that we're oppressing them, it would be the true statement of fact that we're killing civilians to get to them.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 12:45:17 PM by Fenring »

Pete at Home

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2015, 12:57:26 PM »
Ground war would be feasible with Heinlein's bouncing mobile infantry.

NH, I do agree that the Faux News bromide of "radical Islam" promotes violent extremism generally (though not DAESH's particular peudokoranic franchise, IMO). 

OTOH, lefties betray our moderate Muslim allies in this struggle when they fail to address ISLAMISM, which is a term that moderate Muslims have coined to describe the disease of our time. (Just as numerous Christendom was the malady of early sixteenth century Spain.)

NobleHunter

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2015, 01:17:52 PM »
Address how? That it's bad is self-evident and there are more productive (and local) evils to spend effort on.

I assume you don't mean buy into the GOP's insistence on talismanic words or their plan to achieve peace through mass murder.

Pete at Home

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2015, 01:45:16 PM »
Adress with words, NH. Not all talismans evoke mass murder. Distinguishing Islam from Islamism offers moderates a show of solidarity and sympathy. Shows them that you recognise the difference between the religion of Islam and the political reign of terror that is Islamism.  If you fail to recognise that difference you are even more useless to good peaceful Muslims than Faux News and Trump. 

Words of support and solidarity, coupled with active support (supplies etc) will avoid us having to come in, boots on ground, broadening the conflict

Pete at Home

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2015, 01:58:44 PM »
Not to mention, the stubborn pianist refusal to acknowledge the Islamist threat has created a fertile ground for the ascension of Fauxters and Trumpsters.

NobleHunter

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2015, 02:24:04 PM »
Your phone amuses me.

I'm having trouble reading "acknowledge the Islamist threat" as anything other than "engage the problem under the terms I've set." I'm reasonably sure that's not what you mean but I can't figure out what you do mean.

Pyrtolin

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2015, 04:00:08 PM »
OTOH, lefties betray our moderate Muslim allies in this struggle when they fail to address ISLAMISM, which is a term that moderate Muslims have coined to describe the disease of our time. (Just as numerous Christendom was the malady of early sixteenth century Spain.)
Well, sure. That's why the more liberal/progressive crowd makes a point of raising that distinction to the right's attempts to paint allof of Islam with the same brush, and tries to put forth solutions that specifically address Islamism rather than agreeing to the kind of military, social, and political problems that help it spread that Trump et al. advance.

Pyrtolin

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2015, 04:14:19 PM »
The goal of ISIS is not to declare war on America, or destroy America, or to triumph over the American materialist infidels.

Not to destroy, to maintain a state of ongoing, ever threatening, but distant war with the US/Europe/the West.

They don't want to destroy the US they want to convince Muslims to come join them for their own protection and overlook their abuses in the name of self defense. The comment is a bit self centered because it uses the United States as a proxy for Western powers in general, but it's the same tactic they've been using to recruit and radicalize up til now, the same tactic that Iran uses to maintain power. Provoke the West into anti-Islamic bigotry or causing civilian casualties, then sell that prejudicial response as an ongoing war that the people need them for as they're the only credible protection.

Fenring

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2015, 04:41:49 PM »
Pyr, if you're saying that ISIS utilizes Western media to aid its efforts then that's a reasonable statement to the point where it's trivially obvious. Al's "reliable source" said that ISIS is in a "holy war against the United States." That is beyond 'self-centered', it's outright false propaganda, and I'd even go further and suggest that the person saying this was knowingly lying in order to promote some agenda. ISIS is neither in a holy war nor is it against the United States. There is collateral damage in various countries as terrorist attacks are made to provoke certain responses, but the only actual war being waged is in the mid-East in order to take territory and generate income.

Let's face it, Pyr, Al's 'source' is full of it. But to be fair the narratives being put forward about ISIS and Syria are so inconsistent and even illogical that it comes as no surprise to me that different candidates are endorsing outright different versions of factual reality.

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2015, 05:37:47 PM »
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Al's "reliable source" said that ISIS is in a "holy war against the United States." That is beyond 'self-centered', it's outright false propaganda, and I'd even go further and suggest that the person saying this was knowingly lying in order to promote some agenda.
Given his long and extremely reliable track record on matters related to Iraq, AQ and the effects the US policies have had on the people of the region, I think I'll give him the benefit of the doubt until shown otherwise, rather than trusting your less well informed opinion formed while surveying the situation from your armchair.

FWIW, a "holy war against the United States" is in itself a propaganda machine that ISIS uses to recruit followers.  It's not that much different in tone or intent from Iran's government rants against the US in the early days of the Khomeini regime.  The difference, IMO, is that the leaders of ISIS are truly insane and have duped their followers into believing that they have a just and holy purpose. 
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 05:40:33 PM by AI Wessex »

Pyrtolin

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2015, 05:45:18 PM »
Pyr, if you're saying that ISIS utilizes Western media to aid its efforts then that's a reasonable statement to the point where it's trivially obvious. Al's "reliable source" said that ISIS is in a "holy war against the United States."
Which is is, along with Western powers in general. Not a shooting war, a holy war. IT has positioned itself as the ideological enemy of the West, and gains power to the degree that it can convince people that it protects them from the prejudice and oppressive behavior of Western powers. It's self centered to say "The US" when you mean "Western civilization" but that doesn't change the basic point.

Pete at Home

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #31 on: December 22, 2015, 05:51:45 PM »
NH,

I am not a Muslim. So "Islamism" is not «my» word. It's the word coined by the Muslim moderates who need and deserve our support in their struggle against one of the greatest evils the world has faced.

Seriati

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #32 on: December 22, 2015, 06:18:28 PM »
If they can sucker the US (or France) into a ground war, it makes it easier for Daesh to cast themselves as defenders of Islam against Western Imperialism and lets them smear their opponents as tools of those same Imperialists.
Sucker us in?  Really?  A ground war against a serious effort by the US would be their end.  Sure they may get sympathy and even recruits, but they'd completely lose the aura of being victorious.

The fact is, they can't dislodge us from any area we choose to hold, nor can they prevent us from advancing to any area, or even hold an area that we want.  In all combat situations, US troops are able to concentrate at will, while their soldiers are forced to disperse.  The only way we lose a ground war is by choice.

Don't get me wrong, they can certainly inflict casualties, particularly if we fight stupid (and there is no way a Democratic President will not fight stupid), but they can't win. 

It's not a mistake that they arose after we withdrew, nor that they have no concerns about advancing while President Obama sits in the oval office.
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Likewise, the fact that the GOP obsesses over the threat of "islamic" terrorists makes it easier to argue that Muslims need to join Daesh's "caliphate" in order to resist the enemies of Islam.
Does it?  How?  Specifically, how does it make it easier to argue?  Do you really think there were no arguments before?

This is a statement that many are just hand-waving over and accepting as fact.  It may even have some truth to it, it's kind of hard to argue that anything doesn't have the potential to motivate radicals - I mean for goodness sakes we have anti-free speech safe spacers in this country - but it's kind of repugnant when you think about it.  What are you calling for?  People to not have such opinions?  Repressing them?

And what if you're absolutely wrong?  What if the threat is exactly and specifically what your "GOP caricatures" say it is?  How then is not saying something that's true going to help in the long run?
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There doesn't need to be a specific mechanism for this to work because the mainstream media does an excellent job of disseminating exactly what the GOP candidates think about Islam.
Honestly, beg to differ.  All - and I mean all - the mainstream media does a good job of disseminating is scandal.  They don't give two figs about what the GOP candidates actually think or any nuance or reasoned argument that they make, they only care about the snippet that makes the most outrageous headlines.

My wife and I even noticed during the debates that when a candidate started making too much sense the timer buzzer would ring.  I should go back and time a few to see if there was a deliberate short changing going on.

Pete at Home

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #33 on: December 22, 2015, 06:24:21 PM »
Fenring, it is actually true that DAESH is at this moment in a state of "holy war" with the USA, but I suspect that neither Al nor his source nor most anyone else understands what "holy war" signifies in this context.  I know it because of conversations with Islamists and my studies in the history of international laws of war. In this context (the only context in which DAESH is at war with the USA), Mohammed's usage of Jihad signifies nothing like Khomeini's great Satan BS, but actually means what scholars call a justifiable war. DAESH is only at war with France and America because we have chosen to support DAESH's current enemies.

By DHAESH's interpretation of Koran, DHAESH can make peace with any country for up to ten years at a time.  DHAESH's current strategy is to scare western countries into backing off for up to ten years at which point DHAESH hopes to be strong enough to take us on.

Seriati

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2015, 06:26:00 PM »
Ground war against ISIS is no simple matter. They entrench themselves in populated areas, which plays to the kind of question posed to Cruz in the last GOP debate about whether or not he'd 'carpet bomb' major cities to eliminate ISIS. They don't have a standing military that exists outside of populated zones; at least not entirely. A ground war with them would entail a civilian bloodbath since they basically hold the captured populations hostage.
I don't want to imply, from my prior post, that what you're saying here is untrue.  Urban warfare is obviously way more complicated than  beating them in the open.  It certainly, increases the risks to the troops from IEDs and ambush dramatically.\

But we are way better at it than we were 20 years ago, which is when a lot of opinions on it were formed.  ISIS couldn't hold a city we choose to take.  With the number of fighters they have, I tend to doubt they could even create a substantial hostage risk - think of the practicalities involved with even 30k soldiers trying to control 1 million civilians while completely cut off from supply and facing technically advanced soldiers.  They could kill the civilians themselves, and we'd have a hard time stopping them safely.
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What do you do in a major hostage situation? The options are to negotiate, to go in and hope not too many hostages die, or to kill the hostages along with ISIS. None of these are attractive options, and the downside of a ground war with ISIS isn't the propaganda that we're oppressing them, it would be the true statement of fact that we're killing civilians to get to them.
I'd be willing to bet that the propaganda war would be a loser after we largely eliminate their long range communication and access to power.  Not to mention, they'd almost certainly end up killing more civilians than we would, after all they rule by fear and every loss they take undermines that fear and makes them more desperate.

Fenring

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2015, 10:24:12 PM »
DAESH is only at war with France and America because we have chosen to support DAESH's current enemies.

You mean like Syria? That's a funny idea. But I guess you might mean Iran as well, so the answer on this one is mixed. But I definitely don't see a strong case to be made that America is consistently taking sides with their enemies, thereby earning their wrath. Tinfoilhat aside, even assuming everything the MSM reports is true (lol), America has been more of an ally to them than an enemy by taking out Saddam and then trying to depose Assad, whom they also want to depose. I could see them as not appreciating American rhetoric towards them (although I doubt they actually care), but in terms of material contribution for or against their cause America has done very little against after having watered the very earth in which they grew.

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By DHAESH's interpretation of Koran, DHAESH can make peace with any country for up to ten years at a time.  DHAESH's current strategy is to scare western countries into backing off for up to ten years at which point DHAESH hopes to be strong enough to take us on.

I've heard you make this point before and don't know where specifically you got it from, but even if there's some clause in the quran about this I have around zero faith that the ISIS chiefs will abide by a rule like this just for the sake of being holy. I think they care about zero for rules other than whatever will gain them power. Aside from the fact that I don't think the leaders are even religious at all, it would be nothing short of hilarious for them to restrict their activities based on some 10 year rule. It sounds like something out of The Pirates of Penzance or The Naked Gun.

Fenring

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #36 on: December 22, 2015, 10:30:05 PM »
I'd be willing to bet that the propaganda war would be a loser after we largely eliminate their long range communication and access to power.  Not to mention, they'd almost certainly end up killing more civilians than we would, after all they rule by fear and every loss they take undermines that fear and makes them more desperate.

For sure. The actual military action would damage them more than they hope will ever happen, and their strategy hinges on American politics not being willing to tolerate the loss of civilian life plus the expense of going there in force. I think one way they utilize American media right now is by showing their people that Americans are considering slaughtering civilians as part of another Muslim intervention action. The irony is that talking about attacking them helps them, but only if that means talking about it and not doing it. Talking about it and then doing it definitely would not help them! Abstaining from talking about them at all would also not help them, but that's not a possibility with the media and politics being what they are. Given the reality of the situation it's fairly easy for them to manipulate Western media.

The one thing about civilians, though, is that if they kill their own people they a) won't report on that, and b) can call them martyrs to the evil invaders regardless of which side killed them. Civilian casualties won't mean anything to them, but they mean a lot to American voters, which is why I compared them to hostages.

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2015, 08:07:55 AM »
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Sucker us in?  Really?  A ground war against a serious effort by the US would be their end.  Sure they may get sympathy and even recruits, but they'd completely lose the aura of being victorious.

The fact is, they can't dislodge us from any area we choose to hold, nor can they prevent us from advancing to any area, or even hold an area that we want.  In all combat situations, US troops are able to concentrate at will, while their soldiers are forced to disperse.  The only way we lose a ground war is by choice.
Another couple of $$T$$ and we can declare victory again like we have already have done twice against Iraq, AQ, the Taliban and Qaddafi, to name a few.  Since nobody can defeat our armed forces and we'll have the troops buzzing around the other side of the world anyway, we should let them also take out Boko Haram, Al-Shabab, The Lord's Army and other incipient terrorist leaning organizations and groups in Libya, Yemen and Palestine, and of course Iran.  Come to think of it, we never did clean up Saudi Arabia after they took down the WTC, and they're no match for us even with the $60B of weapons we sold them in 2010 alone.  Given that over half of the Saudi population has "hostile feelings" toward the US and a majority of US citizens feel the same way about them, nobody would think we did it for the oil.  It's clear that if we would just relax our foot on the foreign policy brake that should take care of things.

Pete at Home

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2015, 09:47:58 AM »
Fenring, we are bombing DHAESH. By definition, that makes is valid military targets, which satisfies Mohammed's requirement for a "holy war."

Your response suggests you have not bothered to read my explanation of what a Holy War means in Koran.  Any war of defense, including between Muslims, is "holy.". In this context that simply means it's justifiable.

As for whether DHAESH will ultimately stick to the ten year Max peace restriction, that's reasonable to second guess. But current DHARSH actions all fit a strategy of INTENDING to comply with Mohamed's recipe for establishing a grand Caliphate.

The source articles were posted on Ornery  by VikingLongship.  Look them up. Thoroughly cited

Pete at Home

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #39 on: December 23, 2015, 09:51:48 AM »
"You mean like Syria? "

Obviously not. WTF, Fenring. I mean like Jordan, Turkey, Shiites Iraq and the Kurds.   

Fenring

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #40 on: December 23, 2015, 10:02:05 AM »
"You mean like Syria? "

Obviously not. WTF, Fenring. I mean like Jordan, Turkey, Shiites Iraq and the Kurds.   

ISIS is most definitely not at war with Turkey. As for the others, I don't see how the U.S. is defending any of them except for maybe the Kurds unless you mean to say that by bombing ISIS the U.S. is indirectly defending all of them. But then again I don't take the current bombing campaign very seriously, although perhaps it upsets ISIS somewhat.

NobleHunter

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #41 on: December 23, 2015, 10:09:49 AM »
Sucker us in?  Really?  A ground war against a serious effort by the US would be their end.  Sure they may get sympathy and even recruits, but they'd completely lose the aura of being victorious.

The fact is, they can't dislodge us from any area we choose to hold, nor can they prevent us from advancing to any area, or even hold an area that we want.  In all combat situations, US troops are able to concentrate at will, while their soldiers are forced to disperse.  The only way we lose a ground war is by choice.

Don't get me wrong, they can certainly inflict casualties, particularly if we fight stupid (and there is no way a Democratic President will not fight stupid), but they can't win. 

It's not a mistake that they arose after we withdrew, nor that they have no concerns about advancing while President Obama sits in the oval office.
Religious fanatics don't always have the best assessment of comparitive strength in ground forces. Also, there's a Xanatos argument: if they're smart, they'll have a strategy they believe will let them exploit a ground war and improve their position; if they're stupid, they'll believe they can beat American troops on the ground, albeit it in an unconventional conflict. I'm right either way :P

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Does it?  How?  Specifically, how does it make it easier to argue?  Do you really think there were no arguments before?

This is a statement that many are just hand-waving over and accepting as fact.  It may even have some truth to it, it's kind of hard to argue that anything doesn't have the potential to motivate radicals - I mean for goodness sakes we have anti-free speech safe spacers in this country - but it's kind of repugnant when you think about it.  What are you calling for?  People to not have such opinions?  Repressing them?

And what if you're absolutely wrong?  What if the threat is exactly and specifically what your "GOP caricatures" say it is?  How then is not saying something that's true going to help in the long run?
It helps because it feeds the narrative that the West is instrinsically hostile to Islam. Not just Islamism but all of Islam. It also gives the lie to America's ideal of religious toleration (reminds me of the fact that "religious tolerance" used to mean tolerating other Protestants, not Catholics), making the choice look like between an intolerant secular, or Christian, state and an intolerant Islamic state.

The threat can't be what Trump et al are saying it is because they treat terrorism like an existential threat. I mean, I could be absolutely wrong but since I'm not, it doesn't really matter.

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Honestly, beg to differ.  All - and I mean all - the mainstream media does a good job of disseminating is scandal.  They don't give two figs about what the GOP candidates actually think or any nuance or reasoned argument that they make, they only care about the snippet that makes the most outrageous headlines.

My wife and I even noticed during the debates that when a candidate started making too much sense the timer buzzer would ring.  I should go back and time a few to see if there was a deliberate short changing going on.
Point. But what candidates say (what they think is less relelvant) about Islam is sufficiently scandalous and islamophobic to serve Daesh's purpose.

Seriati

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #42 on: December 23, 2015, 10:40:57 AM »
Religious fanatics don't always have the best assessment of comparitive strength in ground forces. Also, there's a Xanatos argument: if they're smart, they'll have a strategy they believe will let them exploit a ground war and improve their position; if they're stupid, they'll believe they can beat American troops on the ground, albeit it in an unconventional conflict. I'm right either way :P
You may be surprised to hear that I agree with you.  My post is a response to the Western left's illogical view of what the results would be.  My best guess for ISIS is that they have a solid mass of religious fanatics who honestly believe that they will win by the hand of god, and a core of realists who are evaluating the implications of everything they do to the minutest detail to ensure that they don't trigger that ground war.

I've said, at least a thousand times, that if Al Queda had understood what the consequence would be the Twin Towers would still be standing.
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Does it?  How?  Specifically, how does it make it easier to argue?  Do you really think there were no arguments before?
It helps because it feeds the narrative that the West is instrinsically hostile to Islam. Not just Islamism but all of Islam. It also gives the lie to America's ideal of religious toleration (reminds me of the fact that "religious tolerance" used to mean tolerating other Protestants, not Catholics), making the choice look like between an intolerant secular, or Christian, state and an intolerant Islamic state.
And?  That argument has been made before, many many times.  It's the same argument that prompted many on the left to claim that an invasion of Iraq would create a uniform alliance in the region against us (even went so far as to make several amusing videos that I recall watching).  It's not new, and honestly, there's a billion muslims living in countries we aren't at war with that disprove it every day.

You can't have this both ways, you can't simultaneously acknowledge that the vast majority of muslims are peace loving, and then pretend that such an obvious propaganda point is going to have a material impact on them.  The fact is, there is a tradition of young muslim radicals looking for holy wars that shows no trend of ending.  If such propaganda influences them at all (over and above the propaganda they already seek out and consume) all its really doing is drawing them to one battle over another.  There is a root cause problem associated with Islamism that has nothing to do with anything our would be politicians are saying.
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Point. But what candidates say (what they think is less relelvant) about Islam is sufficiently scandalous and islamophobic to serve Daesh's purpose.
And so is Baywatch, or a million million other things about our culture that we stream out on a daily basis.  We write the propaganda for fundamentalist fanatics.  If you doubt that, read the essays of Brett Bosell, some of which are actually useful as a parent of a small child, but all of which should show you exactly how much motivation our very culture provides to any religious conservative to condemn it.

Pretending like Trump is material, when they'd kill us just as willingly for Will and Grace, is a great big hypocritical joke.

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #43 on: December 23, 2015, 10:52:05 AM »
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Pretending like Trump is material, when they'd kill us just as willingly for Will and Grace, is a great big hypocritical joke.
Trump is a symbol of the west's intolerance of Islam. He isn't evil, just narcissistic and crude, and by his popularity making it easy to see the rest of us as flawed as he is.

NobleHunter

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #44 on: December 23, 2015, 11:37:43 AM »
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I've said, at least a thousand times, that if Al Queda had understood what the consequence would be the Twin Towers would still be standing.
One bit of analysis I heard was that Al Queda was hoping for carpet bombing, not special forces. They expected atrocities and mostly didn't get them.
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And?  That argument has been made before, many many times.  It's the same argument that prompted many on the left to claim that an invasion of Iraq would create a uniform alliance in the region against us (even went so far as to make several amusing videos that I recall watching).
Blessedly, I didn't hear that absurdity. The only reason I can think for the Arab world to have rallied around Saddam was they all had surplus military equipment they wanted the US to dispose of.

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It's not new, and honestly, there's a billion muslims living in countries we aren't at war with that disprove it every day.

You can't have this both ways, you can't simultaneously acknowledge that the vast majority of muslims are peace loving, and then pretend that such an obvious propaganda point is going to have a material impact on them.  The fact is, there is a tradition of young muslim radicals looking for holy wars that shows no trend of ending.  If such propaganda influences them at all (over and above the propaganda they already seek out and consume) all its really doing is drawing them to one battle over another.  There is a root cause problem associated with Islamism that has nothing to do with anything our would be politicians are saying.
I'm not saying that Trump's attitude will turn them into suicide bombers for Daesh, I'm saying it'll make it less likely for Muslims to support the Western and more likely for them to see Daesh as something they have to tolerate. If both sides are likely to oppress you for being the wrong religion, wouldn't one rather stick with the religion closest to their own?

Fenring

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #45 on: December 23, 2015, 01:01:23 PM »
I'm not saying that Trump's attitude will turn them into suicide bombers for Daesh, I'm saying it'll make it less likely for Muslims to support the Western and more likely for them to see Daesh as something they have to tolerate. If both sides are likely to oppress you for being the wrong religion, wouldn't one rather stick with the religion closest to their own?

Since when did their approval or disapproval amount to anything? Either America goes in, in which case they have no say in the matter, or it doesn't and they can either take on ISIS or not. The idea that their 'support' for either side matters is nonsense. Unless by "support" you mean actively endorse and aid, which would be a different story. But assuming these are the peaceful Muslims we're discussing then they won't do that, in which case we're talking about their passive opinions about events out of their control and in which they have no say whatsoever.

NobleHunter

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #46 on: December 23, 2015, 01:37:03 PM »
Since when did their approval or disapproval amount to anything? Either America goes in, in which case they have no say in the matter, or it doesn't and they can either take on ISIS or not. The idea that their 'support' for either side matters is nonsense. Unless by "support" you mean actively endorse and aid, which would be a different story. But assuming these are the peaceful Muslims we're discussing then they won't do that, in which case we're talking about their passive opinions about events out of their control and in which they have no say whatsoever.
I believe the relevant phrase is "hearts and minds."

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #47 on: December 28, 2015, 05:14:15 PM »
Mother Jones has an amusing look at Trump's exploits this past year, titled "Here Is Every Crazy, Insane, Terrible, Genius, Infuriating Thing Donald Trump Did This Year".  It looks like the article on their web site jumped behind their paywall since I read it this morning, but you can read it in an RSS reader.  I also read today that Trump is the second most admired man in the world tied with the Pope.  I don't want to think about what that means.

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #48 on: December 29, 2015, 06:13:07 PM »
I discovered today that when FOX News reported on Trump being tied for the second most admired man in the world, they somehow failed to mention that Obama was the first.  They also failed to mention that Hillary was voted the most admired woman in the world.  One error could be called a mistake, two would be termed policy.

AI Wessex

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Re: Fear trumps facts
« Reply #49 on: January 02, 2016, 07:10:27 AM »
Following up on the question of ISIS using videos with Trump to recruit, there now is this:
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Al Qaeda’s branch in Somalia released a recruitment video on Friday that criticized racism and anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States and contained footage of the Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump announcing his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the country.
It's an AQ recruiting video, not from ISIS, but worth noting either way.