T Nation

Terrorism's Apologists

A very interesting and fact-filled article by University of Manchester professor Norman Geras, an abbreviated version of which was printed in the Guardian today (here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1532738,00.html ), discussing where the blame proplery lies concerning terrorist attacks.

Apologists among us

OK, it’s more than time to nail this. Within hours of the bombs going off last Thursday the voices one could have predicted began to make themselves heard with their putative explanations for the murder and maiming of a random group of tube and bus passengers in London. It was due to Blair, Iraq and Afghanistan, illegal war and all the rest of it. The first voices, so far as I know, were those of the SWP and George Galloway ( http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2005/07/contemptible.html ), but it wasn’t very long - indeed it was no time at all, taking into account production schedules - before this stuff was spreading like the infestation it is across the pages of Britain’s oldest liberal newspaper ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1523681,00.html ; http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1524752,00.html ; http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1524756,00.html ), where it has remained for going on a week (and today as appallingly as ever: http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1527323,00.html ).

Let’s just get by the matter of timing - of timeliness - with the brief expression of repugnance which it deserves. No words of dismay or regret, let alone sorrow, mourning, could be allowed to pass these people’s lips without the accompaniment of a ‘We told you so’ and an exercise in blaming someone else than the perpetrators. No sense of what an awful tragedy like this might call for or rule out. Just as if you were to hear from a distraught friend that her husband (or lover, mother, son) had just been murdered while walking in a ‘bad’ neighbourhood, and were to respond by saying how upset you were to hear it (or maybe even to give that part a miss) but that it was extremely foolish of the deceased to have been walking there on his or her own. We had all this in the early aftermath of September 11 2001 ( http://mail.bris.ac.uk/~plcdib/imprints/normangerasinterview.html ), so in a way it was to be expected. But one constantly nurtures the illusion that people learn. The fact is that some of them don’t and, from where they think, can’t. It is a matter of interest to me now that there was even (some time during the last year, though I don’t recall where and so can’t link to it) a comments thread on which one or two of the participants questioned whether there had really been left and liberal voices after 9/11 making excuses for the crime of that day and proffering little essays in ‘understanding’. Yes, there really were then, and there have been again now.

It needs to be seen and said clear: there are, amongst us, apologists for what the killers do, and they make more difficult the long fight that is needed to defeat them. (To forestall any possible misunderstanding on this point: I do not say these people are not entitled to the views they express or to their expression of them. They are. Just as I am entitled to criticize their views for the wretched apologia they amount to.) The plea will be made, though - it always is - that these are not apologists, they are merely honest Joes and Joanies endeavouring to understand the world in which we all live. What could be wrong with that? What indeed? Nothing is wrong with genuine efforts at understanding; on these we all depend. But the genuine article is one thing, and root-causes advocacy that seeks to dissipate responsibility for atrocity, mass murder, crime against humanity, especially in the immediate aftermath of their occurrence, is something else.

Note, first, the selectivity in the general way root-causes arguments function. Purporting to be about causal explanation rather than excuse-making, they are invariably deployed on behalf of movements, actions, etc., for which the proponent wants to engage our sympathy or indulgence, and in order to direct blame towards some party for whom he or she has no sympathy. Try the following, by way of a hypothetical example, to see how the exercise works and doesn’t work.

On account of the present situation in Zimbabwe, the government decides to halt all scheduled deportations of Zimbabweans who have been denied the right to remain in the UK. Some BNP thugs are made angry by this decision and they take out their anger by beating up a passer-by who happens to be an African immigrant. Can you imagine a single person of left or liberal outlook who would blame, or even partially blame, this act of violence on the government’s decision to halt the deportations, or who would urge us to consider sympathetically the root causes of the act? It wouldn’t happen, even though (ex hypothesi) the government decision is part of the causal chain leading to the violence in question. It wouldn’t happen because the anger of the thugs doesn’t begin to justify what they have done.

The root-causers always plead a desire merely to expand our understanding, but they’re very selective in what they want us to ‘understand’. Did you ever hear a Jenny Tonge ( http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2004/01/forked_tongue.html ; http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2004/01/again_tonge.html ) who empathizes with the Palestinian suicide bomber also understanding the worries of Israeli and other Jews - after the Holocaust, after the decades-long hostility of the Arab world to the State of Israel and the teaching of hatred there against Jews, after the acts of war against that state and the acts of terrorism against its citizens? This would seem to constitute a potentially rich soil of roots and causes, but it goes unexplored by the supposedly non-excuse-making purveyors of a root-causism seeking to ‘understand’.

The fact is that if causes and explanation are indeed a serious enterprise and not just a convenient partisan game, then it needs to be recognized that causality is one thing and moral responsibility another, although the two are related. Observe…

Me, David and Sam are chatting. I make a remark to David, David gets cross because of the remark and he punches me in the mouth. Sam says ‘You had it coming’. In this story it is uncontroversially true - I can tell you this, being the story’s one and only author - that my remark to David and Sam is the cause of David’s anger. Is Sam, then, right to tell me in effect that I either share the blame for David’s punching me in the mouth or am entirely to blame for it myself? Well, the content of my remark was ‘I love the music of Bob Dylan’. David for his part doesn’t like the music of Bob Dylan. I think most people will recognize without the need of further urging on my part that, contrary to what Sam says, I didn’t have it coming, David is entirely to blame for punching me in the mouth and I, accordingly, am not to blame in any way at all. If, on the other hand, my remark was not about Bob Dylan’s music, but was a deeply offensive comment about David’s mother, then without troubling to weight the respective shares of blame here, I’d say it would have been reasonable for Sam to tell me that I must bear some of it.

In circumstances he judges not too risky, Bob, an occasional but serial rapist, is drawn to women dressed in some particular way. One morning Elaine dresses in that particular way and she crosses Bob’s path in circumstances he judges not too risky. He rapes her. Elaine’s mode of dress is part of the causal chain which leads to her rape. But she is not at all to blame for being raped.

The fact that something someone else does contributes causally to a crime or atrocity, doesn’t show that they, as well as the direct agent(s), are morally responsible for that crime or atrocity, if what they have contributed causally is not itself wrong and doesn’t serve to justify it. Furthemore, even when what someone else has contributed causally to the occurrence of the criminal or atrocious act is wrong, this won’t necessarily show they bear any of the blame for it. If Mabel borrows Zack’s bicycle without permission and Zack, being embittered about this, burns down Mabel’s house, Mabel doesn’t share the blame for her house being burned down. Though she may have behaved wrongly and her doing so is part of the causal chain leading to the conflagration, neither her act nor the wrongness of it justifies Zack in burning down her house. So simply by invoking prior causes, or putative prior causes, you do not make the case go through - the case, I mean, that someone else than the actual perpetrator of the wrongdoing is to blame.

The ‘We told you so’ crowd all just somehow know that the Iraq war was an effective cause of the deaths in London last week. How do they know this, these clever people? Leave aside for the moment the question of rightness and wrongness - for, of course, there were many people (in London, in the rest of the UK) for whom the Iraq war was not wrong but right, and if they are right that it was right, then no blame attaches to those who led, prosecuted and supported that war, even if it has entered the causal chain leading to the bombings, by way of the motivating grievances of the ‘militants’ and ‘activists’. But, as I say, leave this aside. How do they know?

What they need to know is not just that Iraq was one of a number of influencing causes, but that it was the specific, and a necessary, motivating cause for the London bombings. Because if it was only an influencing motivational cause amongst others, and if, more particularly, another such motivational cause was supplied by the military intervention in Afghanistan, then we don’t have that the London bombings wouldn’t have happened but for the Iraq war. Now, I’m aware that some of the ‘We told you so’ people are of the view that the intervention in Afghanistan was wrong too. But others of the ‘We told you so’ people aren’t of this view; and that segment of root-cause opinion, at least, will have a hard time of it establishing that just the Iraq war, and not Afghanistan - or anything else, for that matter (Palestine, the status of women, modernity, sexual freedom, pluralism, religious tolerance) - is what has provoked the murderers to their murders.

As for those (the SWPers, Galloways, etc.) for whom the intervention in Afghanistan should also not have happened, I’m happy to leave them where they are on this. These are people for whom the crime of 9/11 did not constitute an act of war meriting a military response, people whose preferred course of action was to leave the Taliban in situ ruling that country and al-Qaida with the freedom to continue organizing there. This rather does help to establish what is one of the main objects of the present post, namely that the root-causers are very selective about the root causes they’re willing to recognize as relevant; and, attached as they are to an ethico-political outlook that has lately been (let us just say) indulgent towards anti-democratic forces, they particularly favour root causes originating in the vicinity of Washington DC ( http://www.dissentmagazine.org/menutest/articles/wi05/geras.htm ).

To shift part of the blame for the London killings and maimings on to Blair and Bush - and also Parliament and Congress, and everyone who supported the war in all the coalition-of-the-willing countries - you not only have to guess at the Iraq war having been operative and decisive in the motivations of the actual bombers, you not only have to overlook anything that might have been right about that war, like seeing off one of the most brutal and murderous dictators of the last few decades, you further have to reckon that what was wrong about the war not merely caused the anger of those bombers but made their response, in some sort, morally appropriate rather than (what it in fact was) criminally excessive. Just think about the implications of this position. If on account of the Iraq war Tony Blair is to blame for four young British Muslims (as it now seems) murdering and injuring some large number of travellers in London, will he also be to blame if one or two members of the Stop the War Coalition for the same reason should decide to bump off a few people in, say, Dundee? Ever on the lookout for damning causes, the root-causers never seem to go for the most obvious of them, so visibly obvious a one that it isn’t even beneath the surface of things the way roots often are, it’s right out in the open. This is the cause, indeed, which shows - negatively - why most critics of the Iraq war and of other events, institutions, movements, do not go around murdering people they are upset or angry with; I mean the fanatical, fundamentalist belief system which teaches hatred and justifies these acts of murder, justifies them to those who are swayed by it but not to anyone else. It somehow gets a free pass from the hunters-out of causes.

So, there are apologists among us. They have to be fought - fought intellectually and politically and without let-up. What is it that moves them to their disgraceful litany of excuses? This is doubtless a complex matter, but here are a few suggestions. One thing seems to be the treatment of those who practise terror as though they were part of some natural environment we have to take as given - not themselves free and responsible agents, but like a vicious dog or a hive of bees. If we do anything that provokes them, that must make us morally responsible, for they can be expected to react as they do. If this isn’t a form of covert racism, then it’s a kind of diminishing culturalism and is equally insulting to the people transformed by it into amoral beings incapable of choice or judgement.

Then, with at least some of the root-causers, their political sympathies and antipathies naturally incline them towards apologia. Here are people for whom the discomfiture of the US is number one priority, who would therefore have been happy to see the Americans bogged down without reaching Baghdad and toppling Saddam Hussein, who have openly spoken their support for an Iraqi ‘resistance’ committing daily crimes against the people of Iraq.

However, there are others not of this ilk and who would be horrified and outraged - and rightly - to see themselves described as indulgent towards such ugly and murderous forces, but who employ the tropes of blame-shifting and excuse-making nonetheless. These people, one may speculate more charitably, are merely confused; and amongst the things they are confused by are more local political divisions and animosities, which can seem to loom larger before them than the battle for and against democratic societies, for and against pluralist, enlightenment cultures, being fought across the world today.

Whatever the combination of impulses behind the pleas of the root-causes apologists, they do not help to strengthen the democratic culture and institutions whose benefits we and they share. Because we believe in and value these we have to contend with what such people say. But contend with is precisely it. We have to contest what they say of this kind, challenge it all along the line. We are not obliged to respect their repeated exercises in apologia for the inexcusable.

(My thanks to Eve Garrard for discussion and advice in the preparation of this post.)

While some “aplogists” indeed go way too far, neither is it correct to totally ignore the concept of actions having reactions.

This term, the world “apologist” is just a right wing way to discredit or deflect any criticism, some of which, at some level, surely must be based on something.

So, where is the happy medium, and what is the term for it?

I don’t know vroom,

I rather think the apologists are full of it.

And so, unsurprisingly, does John Howard, the Australian PM.

Here’s a transcript of some of his remarks today, that was posted on NRO:

http://corner.nationalreview.com/05_07_17_corner-archive.asp#070312

JOHN HOWARD [K. J. Lopez]
This quickie transcript was just sent to me by someone who described it as “a direct, devastating bitch-slap to the nonsense that the U.S., Britain and Australia brought this on themselves from any other leader”:

PRIME MIN. HOWARD: Could I start by saying the prime minister and I were having a discussion when we heard about it. My first reaction was to get some more information. And I really don’t want to add to what the prime minister has said. It’s a matter for the police and a matter for the British authorities to talk in detail about what has happened here.

Can I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it’s given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen.

Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq.

And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq.

Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia’s involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people by implication suggesting we shouldn’t have done that?

When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn’t be in Afghanistan?

When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq – a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations – when al Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor.

Now I don’t know the mind of the terrorists. By definition, you can’t put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I’ve cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq. And indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of principles of the great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation. And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder.

PRIME MIN. BLAIR: And I agree 100 percent with that. (Laughter.)

Boston,

The ones who think it appropriate to accept blame for attacks, yes.

However, somewhere there must be a term for people who realize that creating the conditions necessary for fundamentalism and terrorism to flourish is not wise either.

The world is seldom as simple as we would like it to be…

?However, somewhere there must be a term for people who realize that creating the conditions necessary for fundamentalism and terrorism to flourish is not wise either.?

So vroom, how does one explain how the three British born terrorists were created by British society? How going to English schools, playing cricket, watching Man U on the telly and eating fish and chips created a want for suicide?

It simply doesn?t.

[quote]vroom wrote:
Boston,

However, somewhere there must be a term for people who realize that creating the conditions necessary for fundamentalism and terrorism to flourish is not wise either.
[/quote]

I have to disagree with that statement. I think it?s like blaming a victim for being victimized. The victim created the situation and gave the criminal the opportunity to attack?

Maybe stating that we shouldn?t be surprised that there are different ideologies out there that disagree with each other?s perspectives would be a better statement.

Red,

Obviously they were indoctrinated by a propaganda machine. Sounds pretty simple to me.

However, on the other side, how would you feel if you lived under a despot, that was to some degree backed by the western governments.

The despot sells billions of dollars worth of fuel to the western world and spends the money on weapons and wages war on his neighbors.

You see the west rich and peaceful, based on an oil economy, while you live under war, treachery, famine, ignorance and disease.

Admittedly, the situation may not be exactly such, but if you grow up in a culture where this is the message, and nobody is saying anything else, you may just believe it.

Might you be angry? Might you be powerless to do anything about it? Might you be susceptible to idealogical propaganda?

Nowhere am I saying it is okay. Nowhere am I saying it is excused. Nowhere am I saying it is correct.

So, simply, nothing happens without some type of reason. People grow up angry for some reason – whether or not that anger is misplaced. People are recruitable by and recruited by islamofascists for a reason – whether or not those reasons are lies.

I’ll maintain, to the best of my ability without being an “apologist” that terrorism won’t stop until the conditions that spawn it are countered. The Iraq war may in the long term lead to this if Iraq can succeed in becoming both an economic success and a beacon of democracy and moderate viewpoints.

What other situations are leading towards anger and hatred and recruitability? How can we best move towards a long term solution that leads way from hatred and warfare?

Getting angry and slapping labels all over the place is not conducive to getting to the root of the matter. Throwing angry young western people into combat against angry young islamofascists is not a solution, it is symptom of a problem.

If you don’t care to look, or you want to invent politically loaded labels that stop people from looking, because it might allow criticism of a government policy or an administration, then that is your choice. As poor as the choice may be you are welcome to make it.

[quote]vroom wrote:
A whole bunch of liberal crap[/quote]

Apologists = terrorists. They should be shot and killed like the terrorists they support.

Rainjack, just because you don’t understand what others are saying, doesn’t mean you have to jump in and demostrate that fact.

[quote]redswingline wrote:
…how does one explain how the three British born terrorists were created by British society? How going to English schools, playing cricket, watching Man U on the telly and eating fish and chips created a want for suicide?

It simply doesn?t.
[/quote]

Think about it…

Deport any person that preaches hate and violence.

(can’t do that here…where do we put Dobson, Farwell, Robertson, etc.)

[quote]rainjack wrote:
vroom wrote:
A whole bunch of liberal crap

Apologists = terrorists. They should be shot and killed like the terrorists they support.[/quote]

ROTFLMFAO!

Make the middle east one big glass plate and let god sort them out.

An interesting piece focusing on the “why do they hate us” analysis vroom wants to take – though probably not with the same conclusions – from one of France’s leading terrorism experts, Oliver Roy, in today’s NYT opinion section:

Why Do They Hate Us? Not Because of Iraq

By OLIVIER ROY
Published: July 22, 2005
Paris

WHILE yesterday’s explosions on London’s subway and bus lines were thankfully far less serious than those of two weeks ago, they will lead many to raise a troubling question: has Britain (and Spain as well) been “punished” by Al Qaeda for participating in the American-led military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan? While this is a reasonable line of thinking, it presupposes the answer to a broader and more pertinent question: Are the roots of Islamic terrorism in the Middle Eastern conflicts?

If the answer is yes, the solution is simple to formulate, although not to achieve: leave Afghanistan and Iraq, solve the Israel-Palestine conflict. But if the answer is no, as I suspect it is, we should look deeper into the radicalization of young, Westernized Muslims.

Conflicts in the Middle East have a tremendous impact on Muslim public opinion worldwide. In justifying its terrorist attacks by referring to Iraq, Al Qaeda is looking for popularity or at least legitimacy among Muslims. But many of the terrorist group’s statements, actions and non-actions indicate that this is largely propaganda, and that Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are hardly the motivating factors behind its global jihad.

First, let’s consider the chronology. The Americans went to Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, not before. Mohamed Atta and the other pilots were not driven by Iraq or Afghanistan. Were they then driven by the plight of the Palestinians? It seems unlikely. After all, the attack was plotted well before the second intifada began in September 2000, at a time of relative optimism in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Another motivating factor, we are told, was the presence of “infidel” troops in Islam’s holy lands. Yes, Osama Bin Laden was reported to be upset when the Saudi royal family allowed Western troops into the kingdom before the Persian Gulf war. But Mr. bin Laden was by that time a veteran fighter committed to global jihad.

He and the other members of the first generation of Al Qaeda left the Middle East to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. Except for the smallish Egyptian faction led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, now Mr. bin Laden’s chief deputy, these militants were not involved in Middle Eastern politics. Abdullah Azzam, Mr. bin Laden’s mentor, gave up supporting the Palestinian Liberation Organization long before his death in 1989 because he felt that to fight for a localized political cause was to forsake the real jihad, which he felt should be international and religious in character.

From the beginning, Al Qaeda’s fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the worldwide community of believers.

Second, if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists? Rather, the bombers are mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan - or they are Western-born converts to Islam. Why would a Pakistani or a Spaniard be more angry than an Afghan about American troops in Afghanistan? It is precisely because they do not care about Afghanistan as such, but see the United States involvement there as part of a global phenomenon of cultural domination.

What was true for the first generation of Al Qaeda is also relevant for the present generation: even if these young men are from Middle Eastern or South Asian families, they are for the most part Westernized Muslims living or even born in Europe who turn to radical Islam. Moreover, converts are to be found in almost every Qaeda cell: they did not turn fundamentalist because of Iraq, but because they felt excluded from Western society (this is especially true of the many converts from the Caribbean islands, both in Britain and France). “Born again” or converts, they are rebels looking for a cause. They find it in the dream of a virtual, universal ummah, the same way the ultraleftists of the 1970’s (the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red Brigades) cast their terrorist actions in the name of the “world proletariat” and “Revolution” without really caring about what would happen after.

It is also interesting to note that none of the Islamic terrorists captured so far had been active in any legitimate antiwar movements or even in organized political support for the people they claim to be fighting for. They don’t distribute leaflets or collect money for hospitals and schools. They do not have a rational strategy to push for the interests of the Iraqi or Palestinian people.

Even their calls for the withdrawal of the European troops from Iraq ring false. After all, the Spanish police have foiled terrorist attempts in Madrid even since the government withdrew its forces. Western-based radicals strike where they are living, not where they are instructed to or where it will have the greatest political effect on behalf of their nominal causes.

The Western-based Islamic terrorists are not the militant vanguard of the Muslim community; they are a lost generation, unmoored from traditional societies and cultures, frustrated by a Western society that does not meet their expectations. And their vision of a global ummah is both a mirror of and a form of revenge against the globalization that has made them what they are.

Olivier Roy, a professor at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, is the author of “Globalized Islam.”

Oh oh, looks like the I’m not the only one that is concerned about world sentiment or that things need to be done about it.

[bold highlights added by me]

Karen Hughes on Track to Confirmation
http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=542&e=1&u=/ap/20050722/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/senate_hughes

WASHINGTON - A scaled-back
Senate Foreign Relations Committee showered praise Friday on Karen Hughes and put the former political adviser to President Bush on a fast track to confirmation as the State Department’s top public relations official.

Only two senators attended the hearing. In the absence of votes in Congress on Fridays, most lawmakers leave early for the weekend.

The session barely delved into what Hughes will do about turning around anti-American sentiment in the world, part of her job if she is confirmed as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

Hughes said her challenge is “the urgent need to foster greater understanding, more respect and a sense of common ideals among Americans and people of different countries, cultures and faiths around the world.”

“If I had the opportunity to say just one thing to people throughout the world, it would be, I am eager to listen,” Hughes said. “I want to learn more about you and your lives, what you believe, what you fear, what you dream, what you value most.”

There was no direct mention in her statement of the onslaught of Muslim fundamentalism that confronts the United States and other Western countries, although Hughes quoted the statement British Prime Minister
Tony Blair’s made condemning of barbaric acts and ideas after the London bombings.

Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said “virulent anti-American hatred in the Islamic world” is a security concern.

“In an era when allied cooperation is essential in the war against terrorism, negative public opinion overseas has enormous consequences,” he said.

“Somehow we have got to change people’s heads and their minds,” said Sen. George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio.

Lugar read a statement of support from the committee’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Joseph R. Biden (news, bio, voting record) of Delaware.

The committee plans to meet Tuesday and send the nomination to the Senate for expected easy approval of Hughes, who helped craft Bush’s policies before leaving her high-profile White House job in 2002 to return to her family in Austin, Tex.

Hughes said she would travel extensively and create more public diplomacy posts in the State Department to tell “people around the world about what we are doing to try to improve their daily lives.”

She also proposed an “interfaith dialogue” in the United States as well as abroad, saying views of Muslims in the country who are against violence should be given more attention.

vroom,

If you were the only one, there wouldn’t be any problem.

Boston, I didn’t get the memo, but are we starting to respect the opinions of the french again or something?

I thought the “cheese eating surrender monkey’s” would be the epitome of the appeasement and apologist viewpoint…

[As an aside, I am being sarcastic, in that the right has long been dismissive of the French and questioning of their motives… if you are French, I’m ripping on the republicans, not you.]

I’m not an “apologist” Boston. You do know who Karen Hughes is right?

[quote]vroom wrote:
Boston, I didn’t get the memo, but are we starting to respect the opinions of the french again or something?

I thought the “cheese eating surrender monkey’s” would be the epitome of the appeasement and apologist viewpoint…

[As an aside, I am being sarcastic, in that the right has long been dismissive of the French and questioning of their motives… if you are French, I’m ripping on the republicans, not you.][/quote]

Oh, I like calling the French Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys as much as the next guy, but that doesn’t mean I commit the part-whole logical fallacy of thinking that because I dislike the stances of their government and most of the opinions that are reflected in their majority opinion polls that none of them have anything useful to say.

There have been plenty of smart Frenchies who have contributed great things to the world. Now if they’d just elect one once and awhile…

[quote]vroom wrote:
I’m not an “apologist” Boston. You do know who Karen Hughes is right?[/quote]

Yes, I know who she is.

For anyone who is wondering, see:

And note she was born in Paris, France… :wink:

Anyway, soft public imaging seems to be a staple of this administration (“compassionate conservatism” anyone). That’s all fine and good, provided it doesn’t actually leak over into the policy side and start turning into appeasement policies.

Boston there is a difference between appeasement and consideration of the concerns of others.

Although many refuse to believe it, there are not many folks out there who are truly apologists or appeasers, though they do exist.

It is simply a common republican tactic to discredit and mischaracterize those that disagree with them and attempt to lump them into some label, such as apologist, appeaser, anti-patriotic or whatnot.

The world is complex. Sometimes issues need to be considered from various angles. Sometimes they don’t.

[quote]vroom wrote:

The world is complex. Sometimes issues need to be considered from various angles. Sometimes they don’t.[/quote]

vroom,

You’re an amusing guy.

Does this actually mean anything? Just curious… =-)