Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fatal Furies

Frank Gaffney, former Reagan defense official turned leading anti-Muslim nutjob, is wondering whether Obama's Libya intervention is ... wait for it ... just a stalking horse so he can later invade Israel. It provides "precedent". Or something.

And while a mind who thinks that Obama is merely prepping for a military action against the IDF in the West Bank is not the sort of insanity one willingly plumbs (at least, if one wants to keep one's own sanity intact), I really don't know why Gaffney blames the femaleness of Obama's top foreign policy advisers (Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, and Susan Rice) as the leading cause of the imminent America strike against Israel. I mean, I guess if you're going to throw together a toxic cocktail of wild-eyed conspiracy-mongering and degenerative sexism, I shouldn't be surprised at its randomness, but I am.


Anonymous said...

The fact that women are in some positions of power here apparently flummoxed Ann Althouse, as so many things do, and since she's a woman that basically gives Breitbart's merry band of misogynists all the cover they feel they need to whine about it.

N. Friedman said...

It is not clear to me what Gaffney is doing. Is he merely trying a thought experiment? Or, is he trying to score points against the administration? Or, does he really believe that the Obama administration is so hostile to Israel - there, in fact, being a number of people hostile to Israel in the administration - that he would take up the position adopted by columnists in the UK paper, The Guardian, who want to see the US pivot against Israel? Hard to be sure, if you consult the original.

The other point here concerns the view that Gaffney is anti-Muslim. I do not follow him but, on the other hand, am very sensitive about efforts to call people names, absent unequivocal evidence.

So, are you sure he is anti-Muslim? Or, does he merely oppose those who propose an apologist approach to dealing with Islamists and pan-Arabists? And, if that latter is so, is that anti-Islam or is it, in fact, a traditional pro-human rights point of view, ala the view of the the great Robert L. Bernstein?

One reason I ask my question about his alleged anti-Muslim agenda concerns the abject failure of most in Washington or in academia even to contemplate revolts were to break out across the Arab regions. That, notwithstanding the fact that there were voices who have been asserting the likelihood of such occurring and who have indicated that, in fact, opposition to their point of view is normally bought and paid for by pan-Arabists in the Middle East and/or by Oil interests and/or by ideologues sympathetic to the Islamists.

Now, one of the themes of those who have argued against the notion that there were important voices in the Arab world, other than the totalitarian Islamists, was that such people are anti-Islam nut jobs. So, one has to ask how sure you are that we are dealing with an anti-Islamic nut job. Perhaps, he is an idealist who, seeing the horror of the Islamist movement and pan-Arabist regimes across the region, calls those movements by names they deserve and receives, in reply, invective to the effect that they are racist hostile to Islam. That is hardly unusual, if it is true here.

David Schraub said...

You know, I deliberated writing in this post something to the effect of "N. Friedman will now come riding in to explain that, as part of his liberal beliefs, Gaffney is really an important crusader for democracy and equality, and do we really know Obama doesn't want to bomb the IDF, and name-calling true patriots as Muslim-bashers is part of the diseased-left ..." yadayada.

I really agonized over it. On the one hand, I like appearing clairvoyent, and I knew that comment (or something close) was coming. On the other hand, it seemed like troll-baiting. So I didn't. But you'll have to believe me that I did predict it in advance.

In any event, Gaffney is a well-known psychopath. He questioned Obama's citizenship ("evidence" he was born in Kenya), was a leading proponent of the near-parodic assertion that the new Missile Defense logo was a secret Islamist code, accused Obama himself of speaking in code to signal America would submit to Shariah law, accused CPAC of coming under the sway of the Muslim Brotherhood, and testified against the construction of the Murfreesbro, TN mosque on the grounds that it was a stalking horse for destroying America. And that's just for starters.

But I'm dubious that there is anything Gaffney or anyone else could say in opposition to Islam that would lead N.Friedman to label them a bigot. Anything "anti-Islam" can be excused as a sober and important opposition to the wave of Islamofascism cresting in the world -- at least enough so that the evidence will never be satisfactorily "unequivical". Much like his liberalism and his opposition to settlements, N. Friedman's opposition to anti-Islamic bigotry is one of those unobservable particles of his moral outlook -- they exist in theory, but for the life of this we can never find evidence of their actual existence.

N. Friedman said...

Part One of Two:


Reading over the material you claim - apart from the birther question, which is, given what we know at this point, something which is asserted by some people notwithstanding evidence otherwise -, I think what you assert is not shown. I think you confuse impolitic rhetoric with being anti-Islam.

His comment about the new SDI logo was, if the article you cite is correct, an error, not a statement about or against Islam. So that is a silly assertion by you.

His comment opposing Obama bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia is not anti-Islam either. It is something which found substantial opposition from all over the political spectrum.

His comment about who is involved with CPAC is not anti-Islam. He is either correct or not about supposed Brotherhood associations. I have no idea whether the allegation is true and neither do you. I suppose we should trump this up as you knowing as much about the matter as you know about T.E Lawrence, which is to say, nothing.

N. Friedman said...

Part Two of two:

As for opposing the TN mosque, I have no idea what its backers support and neither do you. So, I cannot say that he is anti-Islam from that statement. If he is correct that the TN mosque will serve a seditious purpose, pointing that out is not anti-Islam.

I must say, David, that I expected you at least to have quoted him saying that he hates Islam. Saying that he opposes the Islamist agenda is not anti-Islam. It is anti-Islamist, which is a different thing. Remember: people keep saying that Islamists hijacked a peaceful religion. That means, opposing the agenda of the Islamists is not Anti-Islam.

David Schraub said...

I don't expect anyone this side of a David Duke to say they "hate Islam", because virtually nobody in the West says things like that anymore. Seeing Muslim perfidy at every turn -- without "unequivocal evidence" (or even anything more than half-baked delusions), you might say -- is the mark of a anti-Muslim conspiracist. It's a quality Gaffney has in spades, and you have more than a dose of yourself. But I forget -- insinuations and attacks against groups N. Friedman doesn't like don't require "unequivocal evidence". For them, sweeping generalizations based on the account of a three-quarter-century-dead traveler is the order of the day.

Certainly, the evidence against Gaffney is far more "unequivocal" -- your apologetics notwithstanding -- than that which you've mustered in your ridiculous crusade to label PG blind to the evils of radical Islamists. Such is the life of N. Friedman -- it is one double-standard after another.

N. Friedman said...


LOL. You quote him saying things which, for the most part, have nothing to do with liking or hating Islam and, from that non-evidence, you draw the conclusion that he hates Islam. I have no idea of his views because he is not someone I read or, given the silly things he wrote, plan to read.

On the other hand, what we have you doing here is doing what you did with T.E. Lawrence, viz., assuming that you have knowledge you lack.

As for me, my views of Islam have never been expressed to you. In any event, unlike you, I have picked up books on the topic - a lot of them (as in hundreds) and read them. Why? Because I find Islam to be something fascinating to study. Hence, unlike you, I know for a fact things like Arab society is tribal - as was stated, this very day, on NPR. I know things about Islamic history. I know things about Islamic theology and other such topics, having taken the time to study it, from original texts translated into English and from commentaries written by Muslims. Have you? I doubt it. I have also studied the Koran and the Hadiths - again, from translations to English and have studied commentaries on them. Have you? I doubt it.

My views about Islam, unlike yours, have basis in actual study, not in ideology that calls any comment about Islam racist. And - now expressing my view on the topic - there is much about Islam which, from an historical viewpoint, is admirable. There are also things which, if one is honest as a non-Muslim, are not. Pointing such things out does not make one a racist.

On the other hand, asserting things like T.E. Lawrence does not know about Arab tribalism is nearly a disqualifying comment. That was a whopper beyond imagination. As that bit of ignorance revealed, your problem is that instead of studying the topic at hand, you employ anti-racist ideological categories which blind your intellect.

Anonymous said...

What's the saying about arguing on the internet again?

N. Friedman said...

It now appears that even Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has discovered that Arab societies are (guess what?) tribal. See his OP-ED article, today (i.e. March 23, 2011), titled Tribes With Flags. He discusses the issue at some length.

I guess my namesake also needs to consult, per David's view, a cultural anthropologist to realize that Arab societies are tribal. Oh wait. Maybe the fact about the existence of this tribalism is established fact for anyone who has actually picked up a book about the region. Just a thought for those in need of a cultural anthropologist to uncover the obvious.