May 2008

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« Golden Happiness Ratio | Main | How Rational Are Terrorists? »




You miss the point. If truth is "unavailable" by definition, than it is impossible to declare something either true or untrue. In his post, Scott implied that various religious beliefs were untrue. That is inconsistent with his previous position on the nature of truth.


The first and most important thing that this nation must do and it must be asap, secure our borders, we can not go on with turnstiles in place of controls and granting amnesty when it gets out of control to those who beat the system.
Then we need to become totally self supported, we must give up our dependence on oil from overseas, stop outsourcing all of our work and research.
To accom[plish this we need to overhaul the educational system and stop pretending to have no child left behind.
If we do not step up and repair the damages done in the last decade we will soon be one of the larger third world nations.


When you build on false ideas, than you can proof any lie.

This post is here to remind you that more than 420 Palestinian villages full of people have a reason for terrorising Israel on the sole basis of blood revenge -- so much villages Israel destroyed in Palestina in the last 40 years.


You said:

To be fair, the same can be said of America’s government. Just replace “flying horse” with “a guy who walks on water,” and “virgins in heaven” with “the rapture."

What does fair have to do with it? Didn't you discuss that fallacy in logic weeks ago?

OK, to be obnoxious, if not fair, the same can be said of America's government from 1992-2000. Just replace "a guy who walks on water" and "virgins in heaven" with "a fat intern" and "women with a pulse."

jamie, derby

Remember that UK and Ireland are both Christian and this didn't prevented them to wage war against each other with the pretense that one was Catholic and the other Anglican...
Francesco Orsenigo

Prod not anglican


Remove all non-Muslems from the world and they would focus their hate and suicide bombings on members of a different Muslem sect or splinter group. You can not deal rationally with people whose objective is genocide of everyone that does not follow their Imam.

Richard Gosling

"But it seemed to me that even terrorists have specific objectives, and if they achieve those objectives, they stop terrorizing."

Well, you were right in some cases. Britain gave the Irish Republicans something that was nothing like what they wanted, but was a bit closer to what they wanted than they had before, and the IRA stopped terrorising.

But I agree, this sort of approach will achieve nothing with the Islamic Extremists. Welcome to the ranks of those who have realised that nothing we do now will fix this problem and make the terrorists go away. Despair and/or turning the TV off and pretending the problem doesn't exist are now your only realistic options.


Maybe it has been mentioned in the bazillion comments to your article above but regarding your comment about terrorists not turning insurance salesmen, I just had to say this: Changing policies may not change the present terrorists but it will not give them propaganda material to recruit more. In a few years the existing terrorists will grow old or die or blow themselves up and we would rid the world of terrorism (10 years?)


Dark grey form of evil?

You need to watch Brigitte Gabriel (e.g. or read her book (Why They Hate) and learn about the first time she crossed into Israel from her native Lebanon.


Ouch..Goodbye roadmap...hello "you're fucked".



Scott says: [Is Al-Qaeda in Iraq killing Iraqis because of their foreign policy toward Israel?]

I have heard (on TV) terrorists claiming that they atack the ones that have power. In democracies, the power is in the hands of the people - the people decide, thus the people are ultimatively responsible. This is their rationalisation of the 9/11 attacks, as well as other simmilar attacks. It could be extended to most of the civilian casualties if one accounts the non-voters (like children) as colateral damage; note that at least one US presidential candidates (Clinton) has recently indicated that innocent casualties can be acceptable.


It probably does not involve wiping out entire cultures just to find the 100 terrorists. Where is the dam carrot in all this? How can we change their motivation? It seems that these beliefs are focused around certain key individuals. What happens if one takes those individuals out of the picture. Not as martrys, but what if we reduce them to just ordinary people. Show them taking a crap in the woods just like all the other bears. Something!, what if we COMPLETELY pull out of the Middle East and tell Israel that they are ON THEIR OWN, and STOP telling Israel what it can and can't do...maybe the problems will "take care of themselves". At least as far as
*America* is concerned. It seems to me we (Democrats, Republicans, undecideds) don't TRULY mind them killing each other, just as long as we're not letting our boys and girls and dollars get expended in the process, and we still get oil.

Lama N.

my palistinian friends once invited me for a peaceful protest at a Canadian University against former Prime Minsiter of Isreal, who is considered by many a war criminal. I declined for personal beliefs, and the protest ended with teargas, breaking of windows and deportation of many colleagues. Reason: one miscommunicated sentence with the security guard.
A few months later, one of my colleagues was placed under arrest for stating during a political oriented dispute with an isreali in the main grounds of the same university, that he "the pali" will one day be famous, while the other "the isreali" will be selling potatoes on the street corner. Reason for arrest: Palistinian people are only believed they can become famous by becoming suicide bombers. He was in for 3 months.
I have viewed the media and the media is soo skewed i stopped caring. Go to arab channels, palistinian kids are dying and isrealis are horrible animals. Go to american oriented media (including canada and britain) and isrealis are trying to live among palistinians with fear that the next time they get onto the bus there will be a nutcase with strapped on bombs.
Breathing in, before we talk politics, both sides are hurting, and both sides are willing to live in peace (alot already do) but for those fews who feel vengence. isealis victimize palistinian children, and palistinian target commercial districts. Solution: Get the politics out. We believe Iran backs palistinians (and i can soo feel u want to mention Syria) and America backs isreal. How about stop backing any1, care for ur own problems and worry about your own terrorism? and that goes for both sides.
I am going to vacation to Syria this summer, and my only consolidation is on one side, palistine is at war, the other, lebanon is having terrosim on its grounds "please tell me u've been updated through ur media on the actual situation", and iraq does not needs intro (heard turkey might be planning to get a piece of the action) but at the end of the day, watch syrian channels and see the people happy.
Humans are animals (scientifically that is accurate), and unless pushed, they don't bite back. SO STOP PUSHING! and yes, slowly the power the mindwashing people have will disappear.
Am i dreamer? the worst cynical pessimist you've ever met.

Francesco Orsenigo

[Is Al-Qaeda in Iraq killing Iraqis because of their foreign policy toward Israel? -- Scott]

If only the situation was that simple...
Apparently in Iraq there's a moltitude of forces with so many different interests....
Shias, Sunnis, US, Al-Queda, mercenaries, warlords...
Everyone has it's own agenda, it's own enemies and the civilians are caught in between.

In this case, Al-Queda is attacking police recruitements, as they collaborate with the oppressor.

Saying "they're Muslim" sounds like an easy escape.
If you want to get a feeble picture, you have to investigate Global-Warming-style.

Remember that UK and Ireland are both Christian and this didn't prevented them to wage war against each other with the pretense that one was Catholic and the other Anglican...
Just add poverty, a fallen regime, and a few dozen sub-factions and you have Iraq...


"I don’t think there’s much chance of Israel getting nuked. Even the craziest Muslims wouldn’t irradiate their own holy lands while standing downwind and hoping for the best."

I agree, unfortunately. One key thing about the middle east crisis is Jerusalem. Jews, Christians and Muslims are /never/ going to agree to all share Jerusalem nicely. Hence one thing which needs to be done for peace is to turn Jerusalem into a giant smoking crater, radioactive for 20 million years. Then at least there could be /some/ hope for peace...


Wow. Who knew that there were so many people right here on the Dilbert blog who not only know how the "terrorists" operate, but what they want, and even how they think.

I'm incredibly impressed. Since none of these people have been to the Middle East. Or read and speak Arabic.


Sure, nutcases will be nutcases. But the closer you get to them, the less likely they are to get nutty in a way that's going to hurt you personally. If the U.S. disconnected itself from Israel and withdrew from the middle east while making itself largely independent of middle eastern oil, the Muslim nutcases would focus their nuttiness elsewhere. After all, there's not a lot of Muslim terrorism in Finland.


I am afraid it has become a generational thing ie the only real solution is to do something (or rather alot of somethings) to stop the terrorists getting more recruits. You then get about 20 years of low level nuisance actions from the remaining hard-core bad guys which goes on until they die or get older and realise its not worth the struggle. Scott you are absolutely correct in thinking there is no way you can change the current terrorist crop's mind on anything - they are a lost cause.

The most important something we can do is to seperate these terrorists from their supporters and the population in general. You do this by giving their supporters something to lose. eg Palestinians who drive Mercedes tend not to want to blow themselves up !


Don'tunderestimate the power of insanity. Many folks in the Middle East would be perfectly happy to irradiate their own holy lands while standning downwind, and call themselves martyrs for God.

The Writer Formerly Known as CC

The Arab world (other than Lebanon) didn't take in any Palestinians because they said they wanted to preserve the Right of Return. That of course, is bullshit. They didn't want to deal with huge masses of poor starving displaced people, so they told them to fuck off and find somewhere else. So they did - in Lebanon where they made camps and stirred up shit that resulted in a 17 year civil war.
The king of Jordan BULLDOZED 10 000 Palestinians in '73 and not a single person said a word about it.
Look at it this way: If a Muslim kills a Muslim, it's all good. If a Christian/anything else kills a Muslim, you're up shit creek.

The Israel/Palestine conflict can be solved but it's in the interest of many groups for it to remain - Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Q, Iran, Iraq etc. Why? It's giving these groups an excuse. it's giving them a "cause" that they claim to be fighting for when all it really is is the establishment of a Muslim Emirate. And the money rolling in is also nice.
These people don't give a flying shit about Palestinians - as others have said, it's a publicity thing, it's leverage. Nuke the shit out of them, but don't forget that normal Palestinians are stuck in the middle and deserve more as humans that to be pounded up the ass by Israel. And if some idiot tells me they elected Hamas I'm going to shove my foot up your ass. They elected the party that promised to stop stealing their money, not because of its terrorist agenda.

have a nice day!


Hi Scott,

There are so many issues tied to this post that it's difficult to choose which topic to deal with. But since I'm a Muslim, and happen to know a thing or two about extremism, and how the Holy Koran can be interpreted (quite easily might I add) to support an extremist agenda, I think I should primarily deal with this issue.

US foreign policy is doomed to fail because it does not recognize the mentality behind Muslim extremism. Extremists are not prepared to surrender under the threat of war. In fact, most extremists would rejoice at the opportunity of martyrdom.

And the more the US pushes for war, the more that Muslims in general, and extremists in particular, would feel that the US is targeting Islam in its assault, and is oppressing the Muslims. Muslims would, therefore, feel compelled to defend their religion and their people by opposing the US, be it politically or militantly. This is where ordinary Muslims concerned for their religion and their well-being turn to extremism..

While Islam teaches that war itself has ethics (e.g. not targeting civilians), most extremists are of the opinion that Muslims are entitled to fight in the same way that they are being fought. So if the US strikes civilians in the Sudan, Al-Qaeda can kill civilians in New York.

My primary denunciation of extremism is in its blind servitude to "divine" commands, even if these commands are completely immoral. The Holy Koran asserts that God will not command the Muslims to be immoral, and it condemns the ancient Arabian practice of burying girls because it is inhumane, but extremists think that God can order anything, irrespective of its morality, and the test of faith is in whether we will follow God's command or not.

This last point is a theological issue which Muslims have been disagreeing about over the ages. Some Muslims assert that God is free in commanding whatever He wishes, whereas another group asserts that God is just, and He will not command us to perform unjust deeds. And where a command seems unjust, we should question the authenticity of the command, rather than scrap justice for the sake of blind servitude.

Again, this issue is extremely broad, and I will need a series of posts to do this topic any justice. I wish I have books to recommend about this issue, but I'm afraid I don't. All I can suggest is that you look into the different understandings of Islam, and what consequences they have.

All the best..


"In five hundred years, they’ll be glad they have more land and water."

Most of the experts I respect on the issue don't believe that Israel will last another hundred years unless it figures out how to make peace with its neighbours. When two nations are unable to make peace, one of them eventually disappears. There is no way Israel can wipe out 300 million Arabs. Its only a matter of time until the Arabs have enough economic wealth and smarts that their 100 to 1 advantage in people makes Israel's position untenable. The Japanese, and the rest of East Asia figured it out. So have the Indians. The Arabs do the same.

You may think the Middle East is permanently fucked because of culture/religion/whatever but you would be wrong. People used to say the same things about every non-white country. Now those people watch their grandchildren lose their jobs to Asians and Indians. The economically fastest growing city world today is in the Middle East but it is not in Israel.

Israel should make peace today because it is still relatively strong and will get the best possile terms. If peace is impossible then Israel is doomed. Even alot of Israeli's understand that. No nation can survive forever against an enemy that vastly outnumbers them.

"If the Palestinians ever display an ability to offer a credible peace, I’m willing to revise my opinion."

I guess you are still pretty clueless about what's really going on in this part of the world. For someone who seems to pride himself on being skeptical of everyone's motives you appear to have somehow not applied this filter in this case. Let me ask the reverse question. Has Israel ever offered credible peace? When Oslo peace process collapsed both sides tried to spin it as being the other sides fault. Who do you think is going to succeed? The Palestinians or the guys with a superpower's worth of public relations at their back?


You know a country is doomed when war seems to be the only reasonable option.

May you personally never understand why that is true.


Off-topic, but...

I find it interesting that Scott declares truth to be "unavailable" and yet declares various religious beliefs to be untrue.


I think you will find thats because its hard to find the truth with many versions of it running around but its not hard to not believe in a giant man who lives in the sky who will spank you if you dont do what he says!

Also off topic,

How come in the age of mass/wide/instant communication there are no miracles? In the bible they seemed to happen every 10 minutes (of course you have to take somebodys word for that)


"God gave them specific real estate"

so just like isreal then..

the fact that dispite admitting their policies are evil you support them because they are logical worries me. Does this say something about the author or about the u.s. in general? how do you define logical? one mans logic is another mans illogic. is that a valid defence? I killed a man because it logically appeared to me that he would kill me if i let him live.

maybe thats the justification for iraq, "it is my logical assumption that they have WOMD therefore it is rational that i should invade and kill as many people as we can because they have WOMD and will use it on me at a future date....even if they don't really have WOMD...but lets not worry about that."

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