Author Topic: The more I listen to Sam Harris the more convinced I am that he is an idiot.  (Read 583 times)

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Offline BlackLight

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Stop with analogies.  They are wrong and overly simplified.  Yours is dangerously wrong.  If you think they are just crazed, homicidal maniacs, you've not been paying attention. If you cannot understand them, you are incapable of stopping them.  This is why we are losing the war against...someone.  We haven't bothered to understand the problem because we are a nation of chest-thumping idiots who have seen too many action movies. Thus, we are incapable of solving the problem. Your post is exemplary of that.


Obviously, I agree that it matters why our enemies do the things they do, and that understanding them is a big key to stopping them. Harris has beating that drum for more or less his entire career. His problem (and mine) is that too many people are far too willing to completely dismiss the influence of Islamic doctrine on peoples' beliefs and behavior. Meanwhile, Sam has never denied that the United States has a lot to apologize for in terms of its foreign policy. But the reason he hasn't adopted a more Chomsky-ist line of thinking is that groups like ISIS behave in ways that, frankly, can only be explained by their paying rigorous attention to Islamic doctrine. Sam's leftist critics, transfixed by the notion that most of the world's troubles have everything to do with U.S. foreign policy, go out of their way to ignore this fact.

My point was not to equate a jihadist with an axe-wielding psychopath in real-world terms, but only in the context of a narrow thought experiment (where the analogy is perfectly reasonable). If, in the attempt of stopping the psychopath/jihadist from killing anyone, you accidentally hurt or even kill an innocent bystander, that doesn't automatically make you the moral equivalent of the psychopath/jihadist.
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Offline The Gawd

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Stop with analogies.  They are wrong and overly simplified.  Yours is dangerously wrong.  If you think they are just crazed, homicidal maniacs, you've not been paying attention. If you cannot understand them, you are incapable of stopping them.  This is why we are losing the war against...someone.  We haven't bothered to understand the problem because we are a nation of chest-thumping idiots who have seen too many action movies. Thus, we are incapable of solving the problem. Your post is exemplary of that.


Obviously, I agree that it matters why our enemies do the things they do, and that understanding them is a big key to stopping them. Harris has beating that drum for more or less his entire career. His problem (and mine) is that too many people are far too willing to completely dismiss the influence of Islamic doctrine on peoples' beliefs and behavior. Meanwhile, Sam has never denied that the United States has a lot to apologize for in terms of its foreign policy. But the reason he hasn't adopted a more Chomsky-ist line of thinking is that groups like ISIS behave in ways that, frankly, can only be explained by their paying rigorous attention to Islamic doctrine. Sam's leftist critics, transfixed by the notion that most of the world's troubles have everything to do with U.S. foreign policy, go out of their way to ignore this fact.

My point was not to equate a jihadist with an axe-wielding psychopath in real-world terms, but only in the context of a narrow thought experiment (where the analogy is perfectly reasonable). If, in the attempt of stopping the psychopath/jihadist from killing anyone, you accidentally hurt or even kill an innocent bystander, that doesn't automatically make you the moral equivalent of the psychopath/jihadist.

Who is "our", I need to know who you include in your "we" and why?
You're in the wrong place thinking that the people of WWGHA disregard the influence of religion on people's actions, but where you seem to be lacking is recognizing that same thing in your "we/us".

You say that Sam has not denied that the US has "a lot to apologize for" but here is the point; why do they just have to apologize for a billion deaths while these Islamists deserve to die for thousands? It's because you and Sam have your pom poms out cheering for your team instead of addressing the topic reasonably or not hypocritically. It is that hypocrisy that likely fuels some people to the hatred they have.

If you are in the act of doing underhanded things, and you kill an innocent bystander while attempting to kill an ISIS member you are indeed no better than the ISIS member, and I would argue you are worse. Until you and Sam realize this you will be on the wrong side of this discussion.

Online Jag

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Confining it to my actions  in this thread topic I am just being consistent with reality. If you find reality depressing you should ask for help.

You misunderstand. I don't find reality depressing, I find your persistent negative interpretation of reality to be depressing.

"Tell people that there's an invisible man in the sky that created the entire universe and the majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure." ~George Carlin

Offline eh!

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You would prefer a less honest interpretation?

Debating ideas should not be about making others feel good IMO.
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline Azdgari

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You would prefer a less honest interpretation?

A more intelligent and less lazy interpretation would do, imo.
I always say what I mean. But sometimes I'm a sarcastic prick whose tone can't be properly communicated via text.

Offline eh!

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Its just want, want, want.

:-)
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline BlackLight

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Who is "our", I need to know who you include in your "we" and why?
You're in the wrong place thinking that the people of WWGHA disregard the influence of religion on people's actions, but where you seem to be lacking is recognizing that same thing in your "we/us".

From what I've seen, they don't disregard the influence of religion when it comes to Christians. If the Westboro Baptist Church suddenly started killing gay people, I'd expect no shortage of folks around here pointing out the link between a plain text reading of the Christian holy books and the behavior of the WBC. But when ISIS members in Syria take sex slaves, or throw gays off rooftops, I see little-to-no recognition from folks around here of how a convicted belief in fundamentalist Islam could lead one to behave this way. Just a litany of outrage at The West for its foreign policy evils (actual and otherwise).

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You say that Sam has not denied that the US has "a lot to apologize for" but here is the point; why do they just have to apologize for a billion deaths while these Islamists deserve to die for thousands? It's because you and Sam have your pom poms out cheering for your team instead of addressing the topic reasonably or not hypocritically. It is that hypocrisy that likely fuels some people to the hatred they have.

Yesterday, you said the following:

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1st. There is an unknown body count for the West in these countries. So to try to compare #'s is worthless. That cannot be disregarded.

Now today, you blithely tar the West with the responsibility for "a billion deaths," while Islamists are only on the hook for "thousands." Never mind that you haven't any way of substantiating these figures, you take it a step further, asserting that the real hypocrites in this conversation are people like Sam and myself. Another thing Sam was right about, it seems - some ironies really are harder to detect than others.

To at least answer your question in principle, the reason that jihadists need to die for what they've done is that they fully intend to keep doing it. It's their explicit mission statement. Even if the West began "behaving itself" (however you define that in your own mind), the mission of ISIS and like-minded groups would continue: convert, subjugate, or kill unbelievers, kill apostates, and conquer the world. There is no moral equivalency here. Without a second thought, a jihadist will shield himself from being killed in a drone strike by camping out next to a hospital, or living in a residential area - knowing full well that an American military will take steps to avoid killing innocent people. If that same military tried to protect themselves from attack by using innocents as human shields, everyone would get massacred. Because from the perspective of ISIS, killing innocent people is the whole point.

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If you are in the act of doing underhanded things, and you kill an innocent bystander while attempting to kill an ISIS member you are indeed no better than the ISIS member, and I would argue you are worse. Until you and Sam realize this you will be on the wrong side of this discussion.

Killing an ISIS member is not an underhanded act.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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To at least answer your question in principle, the reason that jihadists need to die for what they've done is that they fully intend to keep doing it. It's their explicit mission statement. Even if the West began "behaving itself" (however you define that in your own mind), the mission of ISIS and like-minded groups would continue: convert, subjugate, or kill unbelievers, kill apostates, and conquer the world.

You cannot know for certain that if we scaled back and stopped using remote controlled drones to bomb wedding parties, if we started helping them rebuild their decimated urban areas, if we apologized and stepped back a little...how long do you think "they" will still try to get vengeance? One generation? Two?? Do you think all of "them" will hate us forever if we stick our nose OUT of their business?
When I criticize political parties or candidates, I am not criticizing you. If I criticize you, there will be no doubt in your mind as to what I am saying.

Offline lotanddaughters

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Sam Harris . . . idiot or non-idiot:











Conclusion: Sam Harris is obviously not perfect, but BRILLIANT nonetheless.

I'm obviously not an aspiring negative-karma giver, but BOOOOOOO to the OP.






Enough with your bullshit.
. . . Mr. Friday . . . that post really is golden.

Offline eh!

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Harris crew checking in.
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Harris is obviously not an idiot but that doesn't mean his opinion about everything is correct.

I wouldn't trust my mechanic to do brain surgery and I don't necessarily think a brain surgeon is the best choice for heading up the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

When I criticize political parties or candidates, I am not criticizing you. If I criticize you, there will be no doubt in your mind as to what I am saying.

Offline jaimehlers

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A person can be brilliant and yet be completely wrong about some things.  That, I think, was the contention being made in the OP, after you strip out the hyperbole of the title.

That being said, the attitudes of people like eh and BlackLight don't lend me much confidence that I would agree with Sam Harris on his attitudes regarding jihadists.  I tend to agree with Mr. Blackwell in that half the problem is that we keep screwing over the people of that area, and I emphatically disagree with eh's contention that we are in an "it's us or them" scenario.  I'm quite sure there are other ways to solve this issue that don't involve the equivalent of a "Final Solution to the Muslim problem".
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Offline eh!

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This is what the religion of piss thinks, in their own words;

http://www.yesimright.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/radicalmuslim-e1457019479486.jpg
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline BlackLight

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You cannot know for certain that if we scaled back and stopped using remote controlled drones to bomb wedding parties, if we started helping them rebuild their decimated urban areas, if we apologized and stepped back a little...how long do you think "they" will still try to get vengeance? One generation? Two?? Do you think all of "them" will hate us forever if we stick our nose OUT of their business?

Both Bin Laden (post 9/11) and al-Baghdadi have made it clear that the endgame of their jihad is a global caliphate. In that world, every infidel has a choice - either convert or die (some may be permitted to live in subjugation if they pay the jizyah tax). And the Islamic holy books make ready sense of this behavior. It is a missionary faith, a plausible reading of which presents a mandate for devout Muslims to Win, in this world, as preparation for an eternity of paradise to come in the next.

So yes, insofar as that the jihadists have told us exactly what they intend to do, so long as they're alive to do it, we can be quite confident of what they would try to do if we all sat on our hands for 40-50 years.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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You cannot know for certain that if we scaled back and stopped using remote controlled drones to bomb wedding parties, if we started helping them rebuild their decimated urban areas, if we apologized and stepped back a little...how long do you think "they" will still try to get vengeance? One generation? Two?? Do you think all of "them" will hate us forever if we stick our nose OUT of their business?

Both Bin Laden (post 9/11) and al-Baghdadi have made it clear that the endgame of their jihad is a global caliphate.
And only recently as a direct result of our past and present intervention in their countries. The problem for them is that they can't get enough of their fellow Muslims on board with their tyrannical goals because they terrorize their own country men who disagree with their plans for global hegemony even more than they terrorize the wicked witch of the west.

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In that world, every infidel has a choice - either convert or die (some may be permitted to live in subjugation if they pay the jizyah tax). And the Islamic holy books make ready sense of this behavior. It is a missionary faith, a plausible reading of which presents a mandate for devout Muslims to Win, in this world, as preparation for an eternity of paradise to come in the next.

It should be fairly obvious that the people who are pushing for that world are in the minority even among those who share the same religious faith.

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So yes, insofar as that the jihadists have told us exactly what they intend to do, so long as they're alive to do it, we can be quite confident of what they would try to do if we all sat on our hands for 40-50 years.

The jihadists are a tiny fraction of the world's population of Muslims. The jihadists do not even have a country to call their own. They are vastly outnumbered and conducting a campaign that brings more and more people against them every day. They are not unlike our own white nationalist parties here in America. The reason our white nationalist parties are not running around the country systematically torturing and murdering their "enemies" is because America, as a nation, is stable. We haven't had some foreign nation come in and drop bombs on our children every day for the past 50 years. There was no jihad against the west until the west waltzed into their towns and told them how it was going to be from now on. Your solution to the threat we currently face is to basically ramp up our violent activities against them because now they are trying to fight back. I am not suggesting that we sit on our hands and do nothing. I am suggesting we try to help the real victims of our foreign policy. They don't like ISIS anymore than you do and have much more reason to fear them than you or I.
When I criticize political parties or candidates, I am not criticizing you. If I criticize you, there will be no doubt in your mind as to what I am saying.

Offline jaimehlers

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This is what the religion of piss thinks, in their own words;

http://www.yesimright.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/radicalmuslim-e1457019479486.jpg
That is what some of them think.  You can probably find Christians who think similarly about Christianity.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline jaimehlers

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Both Bin Laden (post 9/11) and al-Baghdadi have made it clear that the endgame of their jihad is a global caliphate.
There is no realistic chance of them actually succeeding in that goal, though.  They simply don't have the military capability to force their religious beliefs on the rest of the world.

Quote from: BlackLight
In that world, every infidel has a choice - either convert or die (some may be permitted to live in subjugation if they pay the jizyah tax). And the Islamic holy books make ready sense of this behavior. It is a missionary faith, a plausible reading of which presents a mandate for devout Muslims to Win, in this world, as preparation for an eternity of paradise to come in the next.
"In that world".  Meaning, a world which doesn't currently exist and likely never will, simply because they don't have the physical means to make a global caliphate.  They certainly aren't going to succeed in it through asymmetric warfare.

Quote from: BlackLight
So yes, insofar as that the jihadists have told us exactly what they intend to do, so long as they're alive to do it, we can be quite confident of what they would try to do if we all sat on our hands for 40-50 years.
And this is a strawman - Mr. Blackwell never suggested that we sit on our hands for any length of time, never mind 4-5 decades.  Please refrain from such in the future.

What he was actually suggesting was that we act in ways which undermine the minority of Muslim jihadists and strengthen those more reasonable and tolerant, rather than acting in a brutishly stupid manner towards Islam as we've tended to since at least 9/11.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline eh!

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Xians that think about beheading a non believer would certainly be arrested in the west for publicly and proudly promoting it and prolly get their head kicked in by other xians.
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline BlackLight

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And only recently as a direct result of our past and present intervention in their countries. The problem for them is that they can't get enough of their fellow Muslims on board with their tyrannical goals because they terrorize their own country men who disagree with their plans for global hegemony even more than they terrorize the wicked witch of the west.

No, not only recently - the notion of an Islamic caliphate goes back to the seventh century. In the 100+ years following Muhammad's founding of Islam, the caliphate expanded its reach from Spain, Portugal, and the northwestern coast of Africa, all the way to Pakistan. Islam's political influence had waxed and waned in the years since, but this idea of Islam forcefully extending its reach to the farthest corners of the Earth is not a new one.

Then again, I don't see why it matters when the idea was introduced, or why. It's a terrible idea, and it needs to be confronted. This speaks to a different point - even if I conceded that U.S. foreign policy was 100% responsible for the threat of terrorism we now face (FTR, I don't concede this at all), we still face the threat, and it needs to be eliminated. Even if you say that the War on Terror is nothing but our chickens coming home to roost, it doesn't change what has to happen now. At best, it would be a lesson for what not to do in the future (and I'm happy to grant, a lesson well worth learning).

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It should be fairly obvious that the people who are pushing for that world are in the minority even among those who share the same religious faith.

Yes, that is fairly obvious. It's also beside the point. If one person in a crowd of 100 detonates a suicide vest, it would be mathematically correct to say that only a small minority of people in that crowd are suicidal terrorists. But the fact that the small minority is willing to engage in suicidal terrorism and kill innocent people indiscriminately, makes it a unique threat. Also, there's a mistaken perception that if jihadists represents a small minority of Muslims (or people in general), then the vast majority must be actively engaged in stopping them. This is untrue. The vast majority of Muslims/people either support jihadists (without engaging in jihad themselves), don't support it but don't confront it (perhaps because they're worried about being murdered), or are basically disengaged from the subject on every level (not that I necessarily blame them). In truth, it's also a small minority of people who actually recognize the threat for what it is, recognize the stakes, and are willing to put their shoulder to the wheel (in whatever way they can) to keep civilization out of a ditch.


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The jihadists are a tiny fraction of the world's population of Muslims. The jihadists do not even have a country to call their own. They are vastly outnumbered and conducting a campaign that brings more and more people against them every day. They are not unlike our own white nationalist parties here in America. The reason our white nationalist parties are not running around the country systematically torturing and murdering their "enemies" is because America, as a nation, is stable. We haven't had some foreign nation come in and drop bombs on our children every day for the past 50 years. There was no jihad against the west until the west waltzed into their towns and told them how it was going to be from now on. Your solution to the threat we currently face is to basically ramp up our violent activities against them because now they are trying to fight back. I am not suggesting that we sit on our hands and do nothing. I am suggesting we try to help the real victims of our foreign policy. They don't like ISIS anymore than you do and have much more reason to fear them than you or I.

Mere "stability" is not what pushed white nationalism to the fringes of American society. It took legislative action and decades of social activism (not always peaceful). The problem is, the nature of the jihadist threat is significantly different than the one once posed by white nationalism. And secondly, the Muslim world, for the most part, does not have a political presence strong enough to apply legislative pressure against reactionary elements in their societies. Ditto for civic minded individuals who want to organize on a grass roots level. Even in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen (which are not jihadi strongholds), atheist bloggers and freethinkers are routinely beaten, murdered, or imprisoned. It's hard for genuine reformers to find sufficient courage to stand against this tide.

But you're right, we absolutely need to empower moderate and liberal Muslims, the world over. But in Muslim societies, it's far easier said than done. How do we protect them?
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Offline jaimehlers

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I'm aware that you're 'ignoring' me, BlackLight, based on your false understanding of what I was trying to do earlier.  However, even if that understanding had been correct, ignoring my posts - and the points I bring up in them - is rather counterproductive to whatever goals you might intend to accomplish here.  Indeed, when the person you're trying to 'ignore' is directly addressing you, and bringing up flaws in your arguments or reasoning, it seriously weakens your own position to not respond to them, especially if they are effective points.

How is a person blowing themselves up in a crowd unique compared to, say, firing a missile from a drone at that same crowd?  Because when you get right down to it, to the people who end up dead, it hardly matters whether or not their killer was there with them or not.  So I don't think it's correct, never mind reasonable, to treat suicide bombings as being significantly different from other ways to kill a large group of people at once.

That being said, nobody here was arguing that the vast majority of Muslims were working against jihadis.  Indeed, that's a big part of the problem that we face - a large percentage, probably the majority, don't see us as anything more than another set of oppressors.  So why shouldn't they support the groups who are trying to strike back at us, especially when we make it easier for those groups with ham-handed responses to them which end up hurting more than they help?

It's worth emphasizing that there is not a significant difference between white nationalist groups and the Muslim jihadis (not even religious, since you'll find that white nationalists are almost always going to be Christians of some sort).  Except, perhaps, that the white nationalists are much closer to actually being in power and being able to enact their desired policies in the Western nations than the jihadis are, even if you only consider outright Islamic nations.  Remember:  Up until a couple weeks ago, Bannon - one of the faces of white nationalism in this country - had Trump's ear, and only got knocked back because of his conflict with Trump's son.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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And only recently as a direct result of our past and present intervention in their countries. The problem for them is that they can't get enough of their fellow Muslims on board with their tyrannical goals because they terrorize their own country men who disagree with their plans for global hegemony even more than they terrorize the wicked witch of the west.

No, not only recently - the notion of an Islamic caliphate goes back to the seventh century. In the 100+ years following Muhammad's founding of Islam, the caliphate expanded its reach from Spain, Portugal, and the northwestern coast of Africa, all the way to Pakistan. Islam's political influence had waxed and waned in the years since, but this idea of Islam forcefully extending its reach to the farthest corners of the Earth is not a new one.

They certainly have tried and succeeded in many ways, but they are not the only ones. Whatever happened to Rome? Napoleon? Genghis khan? The Soviet Union? Germany? America?

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Then again, I don't see why it matters when the idea was introduced, or why. It's a terrible idea, and it needs to be confronted.


Yes but not with indiscriminate bombing of civilians.

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This speaks to a different point - even if I conceded that U.S. foreign policy was 100% responsible for the threat of terrorism we now face (FTR, I don't concede this at all), we still face the threat, and it needs to be eliminated.

It can not be eliminated by bombing civilian populations. It is impossible to eliminate all threats. What is possible is taking steps to reduce the incentive to attack an oppressor when the oppressor stops oppressing. 

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Even if you say that the War on Terror is nothing but our chickens coming home to roost, it doesn't change what has to happen now. At best, it would be a lesson for what not to do in the future (and I'm happy to grant, a lesson well worth learning).

What has to happen now is that we need to stop killing civilians and stop trying to dictate, with brutal force, to the Middle East how we think they should live there lives. There are a hundred million Muslims who are sick of the violence perpetrated against them by both the US and by militant jihadists. Or, I guess we could turn the whole Middle East into a giant bowl of glass. That's always an option for people of faith to consider. After all the women and children and men are dead we can take a break and finally admit that we fucked up, but only once the threat has been eliminated. Then we could reflect upon how things would have been different if only they had just acquiesced to our will and superior firepower.

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If one person in a crowd of 100 detonates a suicide vest, it would be mathematically correct to say that only a small minority of people in that crowd are suicidal terrorists. But the fact that the small minority is willing to engage in suicidal terrorism and kill innocent people indiscriminately, makes it a unique threat. Also, there's a mistaken perception that if jihadists represents a small minority of Muslims (or people in general), then the vast majority must be actively engaged in stopping them. This is untrue. The vast majority of Muslims/people either support jihadists (without engaging in jihad themselves), don't support it but don't confront it (perhaps because they're worried about being murdered), or are basically disengaged from the subject on every level (not that I necessarily blame them). In truth, it's also a small minority of people who actually recognize the threat for what it is, recognize the stakes, and are willing to put their shoulder to the wheel (in whatever way they can) to keep civilization out of a ditch.

But your solution is to kill everyone in the crowd in order to prevent the suicide bomber from detonating their vest. Can you not see how your idea of dealing with the problem is problematic in and of itself? Yeah, the ones who don't agree with violent jihad or the Caliphate are scared. Some do stand and fight. Some do resist but many flee. Official US policy under Obama allowed for up to 20 civilian casualties during a "surgical strike" to take out one or two ISIS leaders. Trump as said he will disregard the old standard of collateral damage to allow our pimply faced drone pilots to kill as many innocent people as necessary to get rid of the ISIS threat. That will only cause more people to flee, including the terrorists who might think it's a good idea to hide themselves among the refugees so that they may live to strike their terror upon the people of the countries they seek refuge in. Your solution? Bomb them some more! Can't you see that is a futile self defeating method? It's not only completely devoid of any logic whatsoever...it's down right barbaric, sadistic and evil in a self perpetuating sort of way because the people who manufacture those bombs needs to get their paycheck so they can feed their little mouth breathers who believe the biggest threat to humanity is a dark skinned Muslim and mommy or daddy are simply doing their part to save the civilized world from the unwashed masses.

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Mere "stability" is not what pushed white nationalism to the fringes of American society. It took legislative action and decades of social activism (not always peaceful). The problem is, the nature of the jihadist threat is significantly different than the one once posed by white nationalism.

The difference is less significant than you think.

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And secondly, the Muslim world, for the most part, does not have a political presence strong enough to apply legislative pressure against reactionary elements in their societies.

I think you are being to broad and generalizing with this statement. Saudi Arabia, Jordon, Turkey, Egypt all have a strong political presence and great influence over what happens in their region. But it's complicated by US and Russian and UN interference.

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Ditto for civic minded individuals who want to organize on a grass roots level. Even in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen (which are not jihadi strongholds), atheist bloggers and freethinkers are routinely beaten, murdered, or imprisoned. It's hard for genuine reformers to find sufficient courage to stand against this tide.

I feel you. This is a problem that cannot be solved by either bombs or atheist bloggers.

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But you're right, we absolutely need to empower moderate and liberal Muslims, the world over. But in Muslim societies, it's far easier said than done. How do we protect them?

I don't know. I am halfway inclined to say just let them sort it out among themselves and stay the fuck out of it until they get it figured out. But we helped create this mess. If we want to help the moderate liberal Muslims we could start by setting the acceptable collateral damage number to zero.
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Offline none

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Well, this would be a good time to make America great again
Fuck the Bible, you can't even eat in it.

First I told my imaginary friend about Jesus, then I told Jesus about my imaginary friend.

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Offline BlackLight

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They certainly have tried and succeeded in many ways, but they are not the only ones. Whatever happened to Rome? Napoleon? Genghis khan? The Soviet Union? Germany? America?

I don't see your point. Yes, other empires have risen and fallen away over the years. This fact does not give us reason to doubt the sincerity of what al-Baghdadi says he wants to accomplish, or how bad things would get if he somehow succeeded, or even how bad things already are in the areas that ISIS controls.


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Yes but not with indiscriminate bombing of civilians.

C'mon now. The United States is not indiscriminately bombing civilians. We probably have the capability to kill every living thing in Syria in the space of a day or two - that's if we really didn't care about the difference between jihadis and innocent people. Even if you can't help but attribute the most cynical of motives to the United States, it's seems to me that you have to grant that fact, at a bare minimum. There wouldn't be any civilians left, if that weren't the case.


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It can not be eliminated by bombing civilian populations. It is impossible to eliminate all threats. What is possible is taking steps to reduce the incentive to attack an oppressor when the oppressor stops oppressing.

We're not bombing civilian populations - not indiscriminately (see above). And as stated before, there's no particularly good reason to believe any military draw-down will disincentivize the jihadists from waging jihad. They're simply not playing the same game as we are. They're not interested in a world where people who don't think like them get to live their lives in peace. They've stated this plainly, and we have every reason to take them seriously.


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What has to happen now is that we need to stop killing civilians and stop trying to dictate, with brutal force, to the Middle East how we think they should live there lives. There are a hundred million Muslims who are sick of the violence perpetrated against them by both the US and by militant jihadists. Or, I guess we could turn the whole Middle East into a giant bowl of glass. That's always an option for people of faith to consider. After all the women and children and men are dead we can take a break and finally admit that we fucked up, but only once the threat has been eliminated. Then we could reflect upon how things would have been different if only they had just acquiesced to our will and superior firepower.

When we find a method of waging war against a group of suicidal terrorists that absolutely forgoes any chance of killing innocent people, then we should immediately press that method into our service. But it hasn't happened yet, in no small part because our enemy truly does not care how many innocent people die in this fight. They know we will make extraordinary efforts to avoid killing innocent people, and they often use this fact to our advantage.

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But your solution is to kill everyone in the crowd in order to prevent the suicide bomber from detonating their vest. Can you not see how your idea of dealing with the problem is problematic in and of itself? Yeah, the ones who don't agree with violent jihad or the Caliphate are scared. Some do stand and fight. Some do resist but many flee. Official US policy under Obama allowed for up to 20 civilian casualties during a "surgical strike" to take out one or two ISIS leaders. Trump as said he will disregard the old standard of collateral damage to allow our pimply faced drone pilots to kill as many innocent people as necessary to get rid of the ISIS threat. That will only cause more people to flee, including the terrorists who might think it's a good idea to hide themselves among the refugees so that they may live to strike their terror upon the people of the countries they seek refuge in. Your solution? Bomb them some more! Can't you see that is a futile self defeating method? It's not only completely devoid of any logic whatsoever...it's down right barbaric, sadistic and evil in a self perpetuating sort of way because the people who manufacture those bombs needs to get their paycheck so they can feed their little mouth breathers who believe the biggest threat to humanity is a dark skinned Muslim and mommy or daddy are simply doing their part to save the civilized world from the unwashed masses.

My solution is obviously not "to kill everyone in the crowd in order to prevent the suicide bomber from detonating their vest." That would be brazenly unethical, to say nothing of stupid, mathematically. The only circumstances under which you'd even consider dropping a bomb on a terrorist wearing a suicide vest is if it would kill fewer people than would die if we let the bomber detonate his vest.  To the extent that it's possible, I'd be in favor of shooting the suicide bomber (with a bullet, not a bomb that would kill everyone else).

Also, I'm unaware of any Obama administration policy (official or otherwise) that allowed for the murder of up to 20 innocent people in the service of killing one or two ISIS members. If you can cite this for me, please do.

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Mere "stability" is not what pushed white nationalism to the fringes of American society. It took legislative action and decades of social activism (not always peaceful). The problem is, the nature of the jihadist threat is significantly different than the one once posed by white nationalism.

The difference is less significant than you think.

I don't think it is. Historically, white nationalists rarely presented the kind of suicidal terrorist threat that we see as a hallmark of jihadism. Even the ones who felt predominantly influenced by Christianity (a religion which glorifies a single human martyrdom as the greatest thing that's ever happened) didn't often take it to that level.

Some enemies will tell you they're willing to die to beat you. But not many demonstrate that they're eager to die if it means taking you with them. White nationalists were not willing to kill other white nationalists in the service of killing a black person and preventing school integration. Jihadists are willing to kill practically anybody in an act of vengeance taken against an infidel who is thought to have profaned a copy of the Qu'ran.

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And secondly, the Muslim world, for the most part, does not have a political presence strong enough to apply legislative pressure against reactionary elements in their societies.

I think you are being to broad and generalizing with this statement. Saudi Arabia, Jordon, Turkey, Egypt all have a strong political presence and great influence over what happens in their region. But it's complicated by US and Russian and UN interference.

No amount of foreign interference can explain why to be known as an atheist in any of these countries means that you risk imprisonment (at best) or being beaten and murdered.

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Ditto for civic minded individuals who want to organize on a grass roots level. Even in places like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen (which are not jihadi strongholds), atheist bloggers and freethinkers are routinely beaten, murdered, or imprisoned. It's hard for genuine reformers to find sufficient courage to stand against this tide.

I feel you. This is a problem that cannot be solved by either bombs or atheist bloggers.

If we let free-thought drown in a sea of violent fundamentalism, then the problem will never be solved.

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But you're right, we absolutely need to empower moderate and liberal Muslims, the world over. But in Muslim societies, it's far easier said than done. How do we protect them?

I don't know. I am halfway inclined to say just let them sort it out among themselves and stay the fuck out of it until they get it figured out. But we helped create this mess. If we want to help the moderate liberal Muslims we could start by setting the acceptable collateral damage number to zero.

If we stay out of this mess, then there will likely be no one left alive to empower once they get it figured out.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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We're not bombing civilian populations - not indiscriminately (see above).

As much as I respect your concerns, this is a full stop comment. You are blind, by what I do not know.

I want you to think about the people of the Middle East who you believe are complicate with ISIS, ISIL, DAESH or whatever, as you watch this short video.



I want you to think about the fact that ISIS takes over a city and occupies it to stage their next operations as you watch this next video demonstrating our superior ability to thoroughly destroy the urban areas ISIL or DAESH or whatever you want to call them, have taken over.



Now, I need you to explain to me what you think we are bombing.
When I criticize political parties or candidates, I am not criticizing you. If I criticize you, there will be no doubt in your mind as to what I am saying.

Offline eh!

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Those two videos confirmed Harris is correct and reinforced my own beliefs on these scum. Wipe the fuckers completely off the face of the earth.
some skepisms,
1. "I have not seen God. I have felt the invisible presence"
2. What if there is a rock in the middle of a road, a blind person is speeding towards it, ...they say that they can't see it.   Would you recommend him to keep speeding?

Offline jaimehlers

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To the innocents who die by our actions, does it matter whether the bomb or missile or whatever that killed them was 'aimed' at someone near them?  Like it or not, bombs and missiles are by nature indiscriminate weapons - we cannot ensure that they only hit the target and nobody else, and indeed, that was never the intended function to begin with.  How many additional enemies do you think we make with every jihadist that we successfully kill with one of these attacks, Blacklight?

Remember that MOAB that was dropped in Afghanistan?  Do you think such a thing would not be completely indiscriminate as to who it kills?  Anyone who happened to be out and about when that bomb dropped is likely dead now.  And while it's true that the Pentagon said that it made every effort to avoid civilian casualties with the strike, there is no telling how many people - militant or otherwise - were actually killed by it, because there has been no investigation done into it.

This is worth reading regarding that, by the way:  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/13/us-military-drops-non-nuclear-bomb-afghanistan-islamic-state

Like it or not, most of the weapons we're currently using against jihadis are indiscriminate in their nature.  So even taking care to reduce civilian casualties, there are still going to be civilians who end up killed by our efforts.  Do you think the families and friends of those slain by us are going to care that we attempted to reduce civilian casualties?  On the contrary, they're more likely to hate us even worse, because our efforts to "reduce civilian casualties" obviously didn't work for them.

There are solutions to this mess besides "keep on as we're doing" and "back out entirely and wash our hands of them", BlackLight.  Are you willing to look squarely at this and face the facts?  Or are you going to pretend that if you can't see it, it isn't really happening?
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

Offline Add Homonym

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Those two videos confirmed Harris is correct and reinforced my own beliefs on these scum. Wipe the fuckers completely off the face of the earth.
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Ramadi, the Anbar provincial capital where around half a million people once lived, was lost to ISIL in May 2015. The US-led coalition carried out more than 600 air strikes in the area from July to December last year.

More than six months of fighting, including ISIL bomb attacks and devastating US-led coalition air strikes, shattered most infrastructure and levelled many homes in Ramadi.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/03/destruction-ramadi-worse-iraq-160304182242699.html


The first video is a consequence of wiping the fuckers off the Earth
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Offline jaimehlers

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^And it didn't actually wipe them out.  They're still fighting around Ramadi.  In other words, we need more than just military force.

I wonder how many Americans wanted to wipe the Japanese off of the face of the Earth after seeing how ferociously they fought in the Pacific.  Especially considering their tendency to use suicide attacks and their treatment of civilians.  In many respects, the militaristic Japanese empire was at least as bad as ISIS, and I'm sure they were worse in some.

And yet, they're our allies today precisely because we took a different path than attempting to exact vengeance on them.  In fact, Japan is one of the more prosperous and peaceful countries on the face of the planet, because while almost everyone in Japan supported the war at the time, most of them simply wanted to live their lives in peace.  When we gave them the opportunity to do so, they jumped at it.  I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that most Muslims are the same way, whatever the jihadis think.
Nullus In Verba, aka "Take nobody's word for it!"  If you can't show it, then you don't know it.

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We aren't going to succeed as a species until we figure out that eventually, the last man standing will have run out of people to one-up.
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