Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Ray of Light?

The percentage of people holding a favorable impression of the United States increased in Indonesia (+23 points), Lebanon (+15), Pakistan (+2) and Jordan (+16). It also went up in such non-Muslim nations as France, Germany, Russia and India.

Support for suicide bombing has declined dramatically in all the Muslim countries surveyed except Jordan, with its large anti-Israeli Palestinian population. The number of those saying that "violence against civilian targets is sometimes or often justified" has dropped by big margins in Lebanon (-34 points) and Indonesia (-12) since 2002, and in the last year in Pakistan (-16) and Morocco (-27).

This has been accompanied by a cratering of support for Osama bin Laden everywhere except (unfortunately) Pakistan and Jordan. Since 2003, approval ratings for the world's No. 1 terrorist have slid in Indonesia (-23 points), Morocco (-23), Turkey (-8) and Lebanon (-12).

Muslim opinion also challenges jihadist orthodoxy that proclaims that giving power to the people, rather than to mullahs, is "un-Islamic." The latest Pew poll found "large and growing majorities in Morocco (83%), Lebanon (83%), Jordan (80%) and Indonesia (77%) — as well as pluralities in Turkey (48%) and Pakistan (43%) — [that] say democracy can work well and is not just for the West."

As, the article notes, the Pew Global Attitudes Project, who conducted this study, is not know for its love of America. Therefore, it isn't easy to argue that these numbers were cooked, making them even more convincing.

Could it be that the Iraqi insurgent's targeting civilians, as well as the bombings in Egypt & Lebanon are giving Muslims a wake up call? Could the sight of Iraqi's voting & the citizens of Lebanon banishing their thuggish occupiers have inspired other Islamic countries to yearn for democracy?

Worse :p could the Bushitler have been right?

Just blogged about the same thing. You and I must have been on the same line of thought today. :)

No way Bushie would get the credit he deserves.
Well it is certainly good news. I hope people in Islamic countries really do se that we are not enemies, and denounce the madness of the mullahs.
If people elsewhere are having a better impression of the US, it must be due to a generous spirit on their part. It's certainly not due to this bullying, war criminal president we have.

And before you say, But he's not a war criminal, I'll point out that the nazis were convicted of war crimes because of their unprovoked invasion of Poland. Our invasion of Iraq was unprovoked. It's called Crimes against Peace. Bush should be convicted.
Interesting logic, Dan. Let's follow it to it's logical conclusion using a well-known historical event.

Did Hitler militarily attack the USA before Pearl Harbor? No. Was Hitler involved in any way with the attack on Pearl Harbor? No. Did any American military leader think Germany was a military threat to the USA on December 8, 1941? No. Did the UN approve WWII? No. Did Hitler have atomic weapons? No. Did Roosevelt take German soldiers as POWs? Yes. So why was Roosevelt not charged with war crimes?
The UN would have had a job approving a war that ended before the UN was created. I'm not sure of the point, as Japan was an ally of Germany, and Germany was a threat to America's interests.

Besides this, was there any attempt to put Stalin on trial for war crimes? Or Chairman Mao? How about Castro? Actually not many Japs were ever put on trial.

I suppose Liberals like to compare Bush to Hitler all the time. Hitler at least was a good public speaker.
HI & welcome to my blog Dan.

Mwalimu & Shipwrecks have presented wonderful arguments which took about 99% of the words out of my mouth.

I'd like to add a few tiny comments. I don't know if you are aware that there were numerous UN resolutions against Saddam. Also, as has been demonstrated many times, Saddam had many, many al-Qeada links.

BTW, how do you feel about all the Kurds he gased & the Shias & other Iraqis he murdered because they opposed him? And what about his conduct during the Iran-Iraq war? How do you feel about the fact that he was a dictator?
You forget, Shipwrecked - to the Left, the UN is the Most Holy One, eternally created. So what if it actually came into existence after WWII? A minor detail like that should not stand in the way of peace!

I agree - Germany was an eventual threat to the USA. And Hitler did declare war on the USA. But on December 8, 1941 was Germany really an impending threat to the USA? Not a chance! Hitler had bigger fish to fry at that time. Yet by the anti-war movement's logic, we had no "right" to pick on poor little ol' Hitler if he could not attack us.

You take on a Nazi Germany or a Saddam before they can take you down. Why wait until the threat is breaking down your door before doing anything about it?
Yes. The popularity of bin Laden is down, along with that of Bush (in the U.S.) and the U.S. (overseas).
The problem with "taking down" a potential threat before they're a threat is, how do you know who's going to be a potential threat? I mean, the French have been pretty opposed to Bush's policy. Maybe we should take them out before they actually can do harm to us.

Tim McVeigh was living in, what, Montana? before he bombed us. There might be other potential terrorists living there. Certainly if we destroy Montana, we don't have to worry about any terrorists springing from there, right?

Of course I'm opposed to the gassing Saddam (and to Saddam's supporters at the time, Reagan and Bush I) did of the Kurds. I'm also opposed to the killing and oppression taking place in Sudan, in the Congo, in Colombia and in Guantanamo Bay. I'm sure you are, too. I think we can all agree that we need mechanisms in place to stop deadly policies.

The giant question is, HOW?

It's a large question and I won't try to answer it here, I just want to suggest that war is not generally the best answer. As a pacifist, I'm opposed to war, but I do acknowledge the notion that most people will want the option of war in a situation where there is a genuine threat.

However, I'm suggesting that if you must choose the war answer, that it would at least fit honestly within Just War Theory. Most wars haven't. You might have made the case for WWII, depending upon the methods used. Unfortunately, when we targeted two huge civilian populations, we crossed a line that JWT disallows.

I've several essays on my blog that deal with this question if you're wanting to know some thoughts on why war is generally a bad idea and what we ought to do instead. Or feel free to write me. I suspect that we do not disagree that justice ought to be served. Innocent ought to be protected. The question is, How?
You're right Dan, the question is how? Do you believe that someone like Saddam would just leave if you aks him nicely. If he was such a person to begin with, he would not have been such a brutal dictator.

By no means am I suggesting that we go to war with everyone, but sometimes it is nessacary.

Which wars do you consider just?
Are you familiar with Just War Theory? Or are religious concerns not an issue with you? (If not, then I might take a different tack).

You are right though in saying that we should not just go to war with everyone, we can't. One thing we ought to do is define when it is necessary and only go to war then. JWT would be a helpful starting place, as would Just Peace Theory.

I'm a pacifist and have a hard time considering any wars just. At best, I think you might say that the injustice of not going to war might outweigh the injustice of going to war, but you'll still end up with an unjust result.

Basically, I just want us to live consistent with our beliefs. What if the 9/11 terrorists were motivated by a belief that we (the Great Satan) were a threat to the world and to their way of life. Would that make their attacks justified? No. You don't think so and I don't think so.

So, the mere notion that another country might be a threat is not sufficient reason to go to war. That's what we believe and I'm just asking that we live consistent with that.

Are there times the world should attempt to stop rogue leaders? I think we all agree, yes. But how can we do so and still live by our ideals? That's what I believe we need to work on.

We can do so by:

Supporting an International Criminal Court
Supporting an International Peacekeepers Initiative (a group that intervenes in cases of genocides, oppression - but not necessarily intervenes with war. There are other measures and methods)
Supporting international aid so despots can't so easily gain power (desperate people will follow radical leaders)
Leading by example. Stop supporting rogue regimes and counter regimes (as we have in Iraq, Nicaragua, Venezuela, etc)

Again, this is a bigger issue than can be adequately addressed here. Sorry I wandered from your question...
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