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... The University of Pittsburgh does not have any tenured Objectivists on the faculty, but they do have an Anthem Fellowship thanks to the hard work of John McCaskey ...

Thanks for providing that information. I think this is great news. But let's not get over-excited about it. Consider what Dr. Yaron Brook said about the 20/20 plan to get Objectivists into top-level philosophy schools during an OO chat last April:

<rgarmong> If I could ask one more "movement" question: could you talk about the 20/20 plan, and how much progress we've made toward meeting its goals?

<Dr_Brook> I would rather not go into the specifics yet, but the plan is to help graduate students get placed in top-level philosophy departments around the country. The program is still in its infancy. It is very ambitious, and we will not know its level of success for many years.

Now, I want to stress that a single outspoken Objectivist intellectual at a top philosophy school is a wonderful thing. And these people are the heroes of our movement. And they have the power to intellectually devour many foes at a time. However, let's keep in mind that the Christians have warriors in place, too. Only they have countless numbers of them in churches and universities in virtually every city of this country. We have a long way to go in this battle.

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Now, I want to stress that a single outspoken Objectivist intellectual at a top philosophy school is a wonderful thing. And these people are the heroes of our movement. And they have the power to intellectually devour many foes at a time. However, let's keep in mind that the Christians have warriors in place, too. Only they have countless numbers of them in churches and universities in virtually every city of this country.

So what?

This is an intellectual battle and the Kantians AND the religionists are disarmed opponents.

We are armed to the teeth.

The dominance of certain ideas is not necessarily determined by the number of their adherents: it may be determined by majority acceptance, or by the greater activity and persistence of a given faction, or by default, i.e., the failure of the opposition, or—when a country is free—by a combination of persistence and truth. In any case, ideas and the resultant culture are the product and active concern of a minority. Who constitutes this minority? Whoever chooses to be concerned. (Emphasis mine.)
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August 30, 2004

Mr. ‘al-Kufr,’

The comments you posted about war (Post #308) are thought provoking. And those thoughts are thoughts about the policy questions that SHOULD be at the center of this presidential campaign (not the supposedly eminent threat of Christian fundamentalism in America).

You commented that this “[w]ar is fought at three levels, the physical, the mental…”

Yes! (sort of.) Take a look at Robert Tracinski’s strategic piece about the war in The Intellectual Activist. It was in November, December, or January 2001/2002 issue, entitled, “The War to End all Jihads” or “The Three Wars of World War Three” – I can’t remember which. (Unfortunately due to an ommission in data entry the article does NOT show up in any of the searches of back issues of T.I.A. on The Intellectual Activist website.)

In this article, Rob lays out the three levels at which the war with Islamism must be fought:

1. military

2. political

3. ideological

Not surprising, Rob predicts that the United States will be very successful at the most concrete level task: military engagement. And he predicts mixed results in the political and ideological relms: the more abstract the level of the conflict, the more we can expect failures in the defense our Civilization.

Your summary of Lind’s comments on “Fourth Generation War,” (which, I believe, is also called ‘asymmetrical warfare’), are very informative:

“In fact, in Iraq and in Fourth Generation war elsewhere, we are the weaker party. The most important reason this is so is time.

“For every other party, the distinguishing characteristic of the American intervention force is that it, and it alone, will go away. At some point, sooner or later, we will go home. Everyone else stays, because they live there.

“…Until we accept the counterintuitive fact that in Fourth Generation interventions we are and always will be the weaker party, our decisions will continue to be consistently wrong. The decisions will be wrong because the assumption that lies behind them is wrong. We will remain trapped by our own false pride.”

Is time on our enemy’s side? Is our material strength an illusion? No! Mr. Lind is in error, gravely in error.

Before the first American soldier boarded the first American plane to head off to Afghanistan in October 2001, the premises of American culture had already been invading and undermining traditional, ‘pious’ Islamic culture – at an accelerating pace – for over 50 years.

Islamism is a very recent re-formulation of age-old Islamic traditions – in the mold of the Bushido code, created by the semi-modern Tojo regime of Japan. Islamism was created in 1949 by the anti-colonial Egyptian theocrat, Sayyid Qutb in response to his fear that American influence would undermine faith in the Islamic World (articulated in his book, _The America That I Saw_). Qutb’s fear was prescient.

For Islamists, al Qaeda’s war against America as an act of self-defense against American spiritual colonialism – an invasion of the Arab mind. The idea, imported from America, that threatens the Arabs and the whole Muslim World is that the proper purpose of life is not ‘religious struggle,’ but the pursuit of happiness.

In this ultimate battle of the war with Islamism, time is on OUR side.

The unstated premise behind Mr. Lind’s evaluation is that the effort against Islamism (and Arab nationalism) is limited to a predominantly material undertaking. His unstated premise is that the most powerful ideas of the conflict are those of the enemy. He assumes that the enemy holds the moral high ground against us. The implication behind Mr. Lind’s premise is that our civilization’s success and power are a moral charge that a weak enemy can make against us BECAUSE we are successful and strong and BECAUSE they are a weak, failed civilization.

This is only true if the moral code of altruism is true….It is only true if our culture accepts the morality of altruism and if the enemy knows how to mobilize our altruistic shame against us.

The view that American failure to accept the ‘fact’ that “we are and always will be the weaker party,” is not the lesson the United States should have learned from the Vietnam War. The notion that “our own false pride” is our greatest enemy is the product of the New Left. It is the premise they successfully injected into the culture, turning a limited – and VERY bloody – military defeat (the Vietnam War) into a policy of global strategic retreat during America’s ‘Cold War’ with Soviet Communism.

In applying these ideas to the conflict in Iraq, Mr. Lind, one of the world’s great experts on military means, is unwittingly transplanting the defeatist notion of the “Vietnam Syndrome” to a conflict with an enemy who is far weaker – both materially and spiritually – than communism every was.

What should be the proper means in a war to compel the reform of Islam?

The proper means are for the United States to gain a measure of cooperation (or control) with every nation of the world – sufficient for terrorist cells to be policed up through the internal actions of sovereign nations (with or without U.S. assistance, with or without a U.S. military occupation).

The proper means are for the United States to insist on the dismantling of all anti-Western dictatorships, the dismantling of import/export restrictions, and the dismantling of censorship of Western media, books, and ideas.

The proper means are the reform of education throughout the Muslim World. The education of the children of the Muslim World should be secular, not religious in nature. All madrassas – except those used exclusively for the education of Muslim CLERGYMEN – must be shut down.

Force should be used directly against the worst institutions of Islam. Non-clerical madrassas should be either converted into secular schools, torn down, or bombed. All imams who have ever issued fatwas that morally sanction the use of force should be imprisoned. All imams who have ever issued general fatwas for the deaths of citizens of Western nations should be either assassinated or imprisoned for life…and mosques dominated by such imams should be subject to constant, intrusive police surveillance, torn down, or bombed.

Under good leadership, America is ideologically strong enough to put in to practice – with greatly varying degrees of consistency – all of these means…except the policy edicts of my final paragraph.

In today’s climate of ideological weakness (a climate which, as several people on this list have pointed out, is much improved over what it was in the 1960s and 70s), proposals to overtly use force against the worst organs of Islam have no chance of being implemented. It feels good to write about killing homicidal imams and bulldozing revolutionary mosques, but the enemy is so weak, that the United States can easily win without taking those steps.

-- Jack

P.S. In Mr. ‘al-Kufr’s’ Post #325, he quotes Lind, “What the Marine Corps calls “cultural intelligence” is of vital importance in 4GW, and it must go down to the lowest rank. In Iraq, the Marines seemed to grasp this much better than the U.S. Army.”

I’ve been running across this difference quite a bit recently. This sharp difference between the military culture of the Marine Corps and the Army is ultimately caused by the greater degree of the division of labor and the deeper integration of combined arms in the Marine Corps. Amphibious battles are, and always have been, the most complex undertakings in war.

Under Don Rumsfeld, the Pentagon accelerated the re-organization of the Army around ‘Combat Task Groups’ – tightly integrated groups of scouts and reconnaissance teams, mechanized infantry, artillery, mobile missile batteries, armored fighting vehicles, ground attack helicopters, and the Air Force (see my T.I.A. article “The Centurions of American Ingenuity”). These teams were modeled after the Marine Corps “Regimental Combat Team,” an integrated unit that includes Marine Corps attack helicopters and Marine Corps Air Wing.

This kind of higher-order military thinking in the Marine Corps has historically lead to higher-level thinking about the effectiveness, limitations and purposes of armed force. The Marine Corps had a totally different approach to combating communism in Vietnam…and has a markedly different approach in Iraq.

Sadly, higher-level thinking in the Marine Corps has made that organization more vulnerable to the infiltration of some altruist-collectivist ideas. THAT is why it was a Marine Corps regimental combat team, not an Army Combat Task Group that thought it was a good idea to ‘negotiate’ with the insurgents and establish a local military patrol group made up of ‘moderate’ Islamist and Ba’athist sympathizers. And why Falluja has become ‘Indian Territory,’ rather than Najaf or Baghadad’s Sadr City.

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"My long-held view of the overall direction of the culture (down, down, down) may no longer be correct. My observation now is that possibly the ripples of nihilism passing through the culture may have gone as far as they will (attenuating as they proceed). Two new trends are filling the vacuum: (1) a turn to religion (traditional religions as well as Environmentalism), which is mostly the conservative religious package-deal, including some implicitly objective elements; and (2) on a minute but growing scale, an Objectivist movement, subsociety, and subculture."

_______

Burgess,

It is my hypothesis that the culture is starting to become more rational beginning with the special sciences…starting first with the narrowest and most concrete sub-specialties of the special sciences.*

This is happening while the many of the broadest sciences – like physics and philosophy – are either in free fall or taking what looks like their last breath.

While the anti-Western critique is destroying the entire science of history, historians of technology and war are doing ground breaking work. While economics continues wrestling with Keynsian and determinist premises, applied mathematics is revolutionizing investment vehicles. While philology has decayed into an orgy of racism and primitivism, literary historians with new access to the archives of the world are discovering the details of what made the world’s great thinkers and writers tick.

Knowledge in all of the specialties and sub-specialties of the physical and life sciences is following an unprecedented, explosive trajectory.

It is no accident that the most rational sub-specialties in the humanities are those that are properly exploiting overlap with the physical sciences.

But advances in the humanities are not limited to this kind of overlap. Objectivism is beginning to have a tiny, but noticeable impact on political philosophy, economics, and psychology.

It is my hypothesis – an idea that is reasonable but I haven’t nearly the material required to prove – that the culture may actually be beginning to learn reason all over again. It may be learning it the way of a youth – starting from lower level abstractions of man’s knowledge, working slowly, hesitatingly, methodically, ploddingly towards the higher levels.

One sees the principles of history before one sees the principles of politics. One learns the history of technology and business before one learns economics. One observes patterns in thinking and achievement and one forms ideas in politics before one forms the ideas of morality. The hierarchical connection going from morality to politics happens later, after one has the conceptual material with which to spiral down the into the abstract root of knowledge, etc., etc.

I cannot yet be rationally sure of it, but – on behalf of Objectivists who implicitly share the hypothesis – welcome you to our world!

With your hope, Mr. Laughlin, civilization may yet rise again.

-- Jack

* For example, probate historians and Second Amendment legal scholars recently teamed up to run a Leftist pseudo-historian, Michael Bellesiles out of his profession. His publisher dropped his book – which claimed that the tradition of gun ownership in America is the product not of rebellion against tyranny, but of racism. Sub-specialists in the science of history proved that his claim was a fraud – the private ownership of arms did not become widespread during the Civil War, but as a means of collective defense in colonial America. He was stripped of his research fellowships and his employment. His book is being removed from public libraries.)

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"...What I've been hearing and reading from many Objectivist scholars are pronouncements concerning areas of specialized science, such as the science of warfare, international law, and geo-politics. While philosophy may give one the proper foundation upon which to build a particular science, it does not give one the knowledge and expertise to expound on any particular science...."

"...One thing I do know, with an absolute certainty born of many years of studying history and my own personal experience, is that we will certainly lose this war if the American people do not act with more maturity and serious thoughtfulness than they are showing right now."

"Do I agree with all that we are doing in Afghanistan and Iraq? No. But I do see the overall strategic thinking behind what we are doing. The strategy is fundamentally sound, [even if it is]...flawed in its implementation...."

_________________

I was only a child and a youth in the 60s and 70s, but I remember those times, too.

That is one of my qualfications for commenting on Janet's post of the Sunday.

My comment?

Amen!

After three years of killing in this war, some people are giving up. Due to a lack of moral-ideological resolve it is possible for America, once again, to fall into the "Vietnam Syndrome." Even Objectivists are not immune.

Don't give up on the United States of America.

-- Jack

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Mr. Wakeland:

Thank you for your several analyses. You consistently aid me in my attempts to further understand what is going on "on the ground", so to speak.

I am comforted and happy to know that Objectivism is far enough along to have scholars who own the expertise required to apply the philosophy to special areas of study. Such things take time and, from what I know of history, the rapidity of Objectivism's spread is unprecedented in the history of thought.

Aren't we fortunate that this is true at one of history's many critical junctures?

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It depends on whether or not you agree with Peikoff's assessment of the threat that the religious right represents at this time - or rather, if you agree that a sufficiently massive "base" of religious fundamentalists already exists which could facilitate a complete "takeover" by religious fundamentalists like Bush. 

I agree this is the issue, and certainly one to be concerned about. But I think it very unlikely that the US will become a theocracy any time soon. The religious right has not actually had much success in politics, regardless of who is in office. Unfortunataly I could not get the audio file to work, but just based on this thread I think LP is overreacting.

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Force should be used directly against the worst institutions of Islam.  Non-clerical madrassas should be either converted into secular schools, torn down, or bombed.  All imams who have ever issued fatwas that morally sanction the use of force should be imprisoned.  All imams who have ever issued general fatwas for the deaths of citizens of Western nations should be either assassinated or imprisoned for life…and mosques dominated by such imams should be subject to constant, intrusive police surveillance, torn down, or bombed.

Bad ideas should be combated with physical violence? That would not only be immoral but counterproductive as it would make it look as if we have no better ideas of our own, just guns and bombs.

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Force should be used directly against the worst institutions of Islam.  Non-clerical madrassas should be either converted into secular schools, torn down, or bombed.  All imams who have ever issued fatwas that morally sanction the use of force should be imprisoned.  All imams who have ever issued general fatwas for the deaths of citizens of Western nations should be either assassinated or imprisoned for life…and mosques dominated by such imams should be subject to constant, intrusive police surveillance, torn down, or bombed.

Bad ideas should be combated with physical violence?

No, FORCE and THREATS of force -- fatwas and those who issue them -- should be met with force.

A fatwa is not just a "bad idea."

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I just read UNFIT FOR COMMAND. There is no possible way, after reading that book, to vote for Kerry. He is a worse human being than you can possibly imagine. I will lose all respect for our institution of government if he is elected commander-in-chief. I will not fight to "buy time," or anything else. I will welcome the destruction of this country. If you thought Clintion or Gore were power-lusting weasels, this guy makes them look like Jefferson and Madison.

I have a lot of respect for Leonard Peikoff. He is a first-rate and TRUE objectivist. But he hadn't read this book when he said he considered Kerry the correct choice.

I hope he reads it.

No matter how much of a zealot Bush is, I would rather have St Augustine running things than Kerry. Kerry will hand us to the U.N. if he has the time. We will cease to be a sovereign country. He not only has no love for America, you could make a good case that he actually hates America. He is actual HUMAN GARBAGE.

I don't throw that description around lightly. There are thousands of men in our prisons that have more character than him. It pains me to know that people like him actually exist - at my expense, no less. If he's elected, this country is a joke.

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No, FORCE and THREATS of force -- fatwas and those who issue them -- should be met with force.

A fatwa is not just a "bad idea."

For people who directly incite others to murder, I somewhat agree. (I say somewhat because the responsibility ultimately lies with the person who commits the murder.) But the post I quoted goes much further, advocating the general destruction of religious schools, etc. He is basically advocating the use of force to prevent certain ideas from being taught.

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You may be inadvertantly context-dropping here. The children are forced to attend those schools and are forced to accept those ideas, are they not?

I hope it is agreed that we should not bomb the schools during hours when they are in session.

Or would our avoidance of bombing the schools whenever it best suits us be an acceptance of the altruistic principle that something comes above our survival?

My modest proposal is to use bombs to take out bombs; ideas should be fought only with ideas.

Bombs away,

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I hope it is agreed that we should not bomb the schools during hours when they are in session.

That doesn't strike me as a good idea on the surface, but that's because the overall goal is to affect the enemy in a certain way and not because I think that American lives should be risked to save the lives of enemy children.

If it would in fact win the war of ideas, I would say "bombs away."

Or would our avoidance of bombing the schools whenever it best suits us be an acceptance of the altruistic principle that something comes above our survival?

It could be, if that was indeed the intent of the actor. Altruism is not the only reason why one might not do that, though.

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In this article, Rob lays out the three levels at which the war with Islamism must be fought:

1. military

2. political

3. ideological

I agree with you on the point that this war is being fought on two levels the physical level and ideological level, but im not sure what you mean by the political level, i think thats apart of both the military and ideological levels.

Now on the physical level we have the technological advantage but in war that is the least importantr factor, our congress and generals think that we can somehow win this war with bigger more high tech wapons, or silver bullet solutions.

John Boyd said that "Machines dont fight wars people do, and they use their minds. And he said that these are the most important factors in war, People,Ideas and hardware,important in that order.

"People: recruiting, retention, personnel management, unit cohesion, empowerment, and character development.

Ideas: military theory, doctrine, training, and organization.

Hardware: weapons, supplies, support infrastructure, and technology."

http://www.belisarius.com/modern_business_...f/sbt_intro.htm

Currently we have this in reverse, we think that just becuase we have big guns we are going to win. What we really need to do is fix our doctrine(ideas) from the current second generation attrition warfare based fighting style to maneuver warfare and fourth generaration warfare, the marines started to do this, but the transformation is not complete, its still mostlytop down command and control.

But this is all a question of reforming the military and is an issue of what we need to do to fight this war more effectively.

Here is just one example of that kind of thinking:

For starters, the Pentagon’s top brass always focus on big-ticket toys like the irrelevant F-22 fighter, the crash-and-burn Osprey helicopter, the redundant Joint Strike Fighter and the dubious Stryker combat vehicle.

These 18-karat klinkers might be ideal weapons to fight a now-extinct Soviet bear, but they aren’t worth a bucket of spit in our present long-term struggle against terrorism.

The price tag for just these four wonder weapons runs about half a trillion dollars – great for war racketeers, political slush funds and other pork, and the general officers’ big-buck, military-industrial-congressional-complex-sponsored post-military careers, but not so good for the GI Joes and Jills operating in the killing zones without the right stuff.

http://www.sftt.org/cgi-bin/csNews/csNews....1.1551816022791

And here is a link, the link on the page show small charts, you can read them all in a short ammount of time.

http://www.belisarius.com/modern_business_...es.htm#Maneuver

Now, when it comes to destrying the enemy(in short term context)Physical, mental, and moral,(again,in a short term context ) is that the way to destroy the enemy is by destroying him physically(this is the least important),mental(destroy his view of the world),moral(destroy his connections to other people).

Is time on our enemy’s side? Is our material strength an illusion? No! Mr. Lind is in error, gravely in error.

I dissagree with you on this point, becuase what are we doing to spread ideas and change the culture in the middle east? Not much, the interaction between iraqisand marines and soldiers is a good thing, but what is being done to create a massive ideological movement to counter or destroy the enemys ideas? Now, I agree that the islamist have a big battle to fight against american culture(even though we are spreading crap culture along with it like rap, and bad movies and porn), but what are we doing to ACTIVELY promote american values an to cause an ideological revolution in the mid east?

The unstated premise behind Mr. Lind’s evaluation is that the effort against Islamism (and Arab nationalism) is limited to a predominantly material undertaking. His unstated premise is that the most powerful ideas of the conflict are those of the enemy. He assumes that the enemy holds the moral high ground against us. The implication behind Mr. Lind’s premise is that our civilization’s success and power are a moral charge that a weak enemy can make against us BECAUSE we are successful and strong and BECAUSE they are a weak, failed civilization.

This is only true if the moral code of altruism is true….It is only true if our culture accepts the morality of altruism and if the enemy knows how to mobilize our altruistic shame against us.

They dont have the moral high ground, and i dont think Lind agrees that they do, BUT THE ARAB WORLD and the WHOLE altruist world agrees that they do.

Which means that we will lose on the moral level becuase they will have more pools of potential terrorist to draw from while we lose allies for help. Thats his point.

Here is a great article called "A Short Tutorial on the Moral Essence ofGrand Strategy" , not that i agree with everything it says.

h

ttp://www.defense-and-society.org/fcs/comments/c491.htm

What we need to do is de-militarize our grand startegy not that military force is wrong but there are easier ways to wining this war than using force. They will be more effective because they will destroy state supporters of terrorism and at the same time bring people form the middle east to our side and hopefully they will come to our side ideologically too.

Sun Tzu said:

Generally in warfare, keeping a nation intact is best, destroying a nation second best; keeping an army intact is best, destroying an army second best;

keeping a battalion intact is best, destroying a battalion second best;

keeping a company intact is best, destroying a company second best;

keeping a squad intact is best, destroying a squad second best. 

Therefore, to gain a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the highest excellence; to subjugate the enemy's army without doing battle is the highest of excellence. 

Therefore, the best warfare strategy is to attack the enemy's plans, next is to attack alliances, next is to attack the army, and the worst is to attack a walled city. 

Laying siege to a city is only done when other options are not available."

For example i think we could have taken over iraq withought firing a shot or much of a shot, but itsd a little to late fopr that and it would take a while to explain.

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I will welcome the destruction of this country. 

Perhaps I could say it better: I forsee the destruction of this country. If anyone thinks there is potential for government wrongdoing(constitutionally) via the patriot act, imagine a "patriot act" written and enforced by the United Nations!!!

If we elect a president who so clearly wants us to be tied down to some world-governing body such as the U.N., then, yes, we will get what we deserve. If at the point when the U.N. starts to make rules for us regarding patents, copywrights, or even our currency, I do not take up arms, then yes, I will be to blame. These steps are forseeable. It is obvious that one-world government is tantamount to the death of America.

What I should have said is that I welcome justice. Justice would be the destruction of this country if we let these things happen. They will definitely happen if we had some back to back 8 year terms of kerry, then H. clinton, or god knows who.

Bush, aside from his mysticism, puts America first.

Kerry puts France, or you fill in the blank, first

He has NO INTEREST in the well being of Americans.

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That doesn't strike me as a good idea on the surface, but that's because the overall goal is to affect the enemy in a certain way and not because I think that American lives should be risked to save the lives of enemy children.

If it would in fact win the war of ideas, I would say "bombs away."

Nice. To win a war of ideas, bomb "enemy children."

Combine this with the doctrine of pre-emptive war, and you are simply advocating genocide.

But it *can't* be genocide, right? After all, they're ARABS. WE'RE the Chosen People. Er, you know, Americans.

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Nice. To win a war of ideas, bomb "enemy children."

Combine this with the doctrine of pre-emptive war, and you are simply advocating genocide.

But it *can't* be genocide, right? After all, they're ARABS. WE'RE the Chosen People. Er, you know, Americans.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have seen Maynard's posts elsewhere and I think you are being trolled.

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Nice. To win a war of ideas, bomb "enemy children."

Combine this with the doctrine of pre-emptive war, and you are simply advocating genocide.

But it *can't* be genocide, right? After all, they're ARABS. WE'RE the Chosen People. Er, you know, Americans.

Why do idiot liberal always involve race in this issue? They cant get out of the class,race,sex dynamic.

Anyways,i took this test on who my views fit the most and i was surprices to find out that Bush got 71% of what i want!!!

Kerry Score: 49%

Kucinich Score: 32%

i thought it would have been less...

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I hope it is agreed that we should not bomb the schools during hours when they are in session.

Is there some confusion about Muslim terms -- fatwa, madrasa, and others -- in this thread?

Following is my understanding of these terms as they are generally used today in the Muslim world, particularly in the Arabic speaking countries of the Middle East.

MADRASA (or sometimes madrasah, but should not be madrassa): Literally the place (ma-) for study (darasa). For 1200 years the madrasa has been the highest level school of religious "science" (theology and religious law). It offers a wide range of courses for "university" level students (however, the university, strictly speaking, was one of the great inventions of the West): grammar, "logic," rhetoric, and literary subjects, but mostly for the study of fiqh, which is Islamic law. The madrasas exclude the "foreign sciences" (that is, those based on the infusion of Greek knowledge into Muslim culture after c. 800 CE), such as medicine generally. Attending a madrasa is a privilege and not compulsory.

Thus bombing a madrasa does not mean killing kindergarten kids. It means, for some madrasa, killing the next generation of propagandists for the attackers of Western Civilization. As attacking a propaganda school for the Nazis in 1942 was proper, so might attacking some madrasas in Iran.

IMAM (strictly, the transliteration should be imaam): Literally it means "model" or "exemplar." (1) He is the leader of a prayer group, either for a particular occasion or as a regular event (for example, I suppose, at the regular Friday service). (2) Sometimes, it is the title for a community group not directly tied to a particular mosque. (3) Among the minority Shi'ite Muslims, it can be the title for one man in each period of history, a man who is a divinely chosen successor to the ancient founder of the Shi'ite line when it broke away from the Sunni Muslims.

FATWA: A published opinion issued by an authority on religious law, who is sometimes called a muftii. Not anyone can issue a fatwa. In theory a muftii can issue one only after he has immersed himself in the pro's and con's of the issue, and reached a final verdict. Note that often one muftii may issue a fatwa that is pro and another muftii may issue a fatwa that is con -- on the same issue. Long debate between muftii may eventually end in consensus among the ulamaa (see below). Of course, in some countries, the muftii physically intimidate others, to stifle dissent.

"Fatwa" does not mean "death sentence." That would be a frozen abstraction. Only a tiny number of fatwas are judgments that a certain individual may be killed without legal retaliation. Most fatwas apply to mundane issues such as who should inherit a date orchard under certain conditions of family lines of succession. Keep in mind that religious law is supposed to apply to all basic areas of life, because Allah is all encompassing.

ULAMAA -- Among the majority Sunni, the ulamaa is the community of Muslim intellectuals (imaams of big mosques, religious judges, madrasa teachers, and others), a large group. Through debate, the ulamaa may reach consensus quickly or over decades. Among the Shi'ites the ulamaa is a very small group of individuals, each having much greater power -- as we can see in the news from an-Najaf and Baghdad.

AYATOLLAH (literally "a sign [ayat-] of Allah") is a title that applies only to minority Shi'ites. It is, curiously, a 20th Century title, applying mostly to Iran. It is a title for a few individuals (all men) who are "generally recognized" (by consensus) to be the most knowledgeable experts on Islam. Each has a "personal following" (gang). In Iran (Persia), Muslims suffered from "Ayatollah-inflation" with more and more individuals being called Ayatollah. So, after the revolution of 1979 (the one in which President Jimmy Carter starred), Ayatollah Khomeini dropped the title in favor of calling himself Imaam. That is humility.

An excellent sourcebook is the 472 page, Cyril Glasse, The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam.

Caution: My knowledge of Arabic language and culture is miniscule. I constantly risk embarassment. But that's okay, because embarassment is just a pot-hole on the road to learning.

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Nice. To win a war of ideas, bomb "enemy children."

Combine this with the doctrine of pre-emptive war, and you are simply advocating genocide.

But it *can't* be genocide, right? After all, they're ARABS. WE'RE the Chosen People. Er, you know, Americans.

Shoo, irrationalist. Go away. Your inability to read what I type is utterly astounding.

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"They don’t have the moral high ground, ...BUT THE ARAB WORLD and the WHOLE altruist world agrees that they do. Which means that we will lose on the moral level because they will have more pools of potential terrorist to draw from while we lose allies for help."

This is exactly the view I argued against. The enemy's moral approval is not a component of victory. (Sorry, to make such a silly point...I know you didn't expect that writing down your thought would result in it sounding that way, but that is what the paragraph means.)

__________________________

"What we need to do is ... [undermine] state supporters of terrorism and at the same time bring people form the Middle East to our side and hopefully they will come to our side ideologically too."

The enemy is probably about 10% of the world-wide Muslim population...about 100 million devoted Muslims who believe that Islam should be spread by force -- the Islamists.

It is safe to assume that none of these 100 million people will ever come around to our side, ever.

That's why this is war. (Again, it sounds almost silly to make hash out of one of your sentences…)

A significant fraction of the world's ~100 million Islamists are already neutralized by living in nations that use their police powers to suppress Islamic militancy (e.g., the United States, Great Britain, France, Turkey, Singapore, Morroco, Egypt, etc.).

In nations that oppose the Islamist use of force, material acts of religious incitement can be suppressed by the police (closing mosques and madrassas and Muslim 'charities' that funnel resources to terrorist groups, imprisoning people who knowingly provide that support, and imprisoning imams who issue death threats in their fatwas).

Within anti-Islamist nations, secular voices should shun, isolate, de-legitimize, and morally and economically intimidate Islamists and Islamist organizations. They should go as far as morally attacking public expression of Islam outside the mosque, using all means short of the initiation of force.

This is being done a little bit in America and in the West, but not very much (with one exception). As a welfare-state provider, the government has a legitimate secularizing role. For the world's best example, take a look at France. Head scarves and other similar coverings are prohibited to Muslim children in school. The first appropriate doctor available at public hospitals -- male or female -- is the ONLY doctor who will provide medical care to Muslim women (or men).

If you can think of legitimate ways to obstruct the public acceptance of Muslim customs by private or government action, advocate them. For example, the residents of a Detroit suburb with a large minority Muslim population banded together to prevent a local mosque from broadcasting the five-times-daily call to prayer from the minarets. They did it on the grounds that it was not an American custom and on the grounds that the Arabic words of the chants constantly warn mosque-goers against co-existence with 'infidels.' That is something Objectivists can do. Christians are often in a weak moral position to do it. And many Liberals oppose it.

In hostile nations that will not cooperate with American or other nation's efforts to police up Islamist terrorism, the only option open to us is armed force, either overtly with our military, or covertly using secret bombing and assassination squads (such as were used in Baghdad during the invasion). This -- in case you were wondering -- is the circumstance in which bombing mosques and madrassas and assassinating Islamist imams is moral (and practical).

To win, we'll probably have to kill no more than 0.1% of our enemies. The rest will be subdued by their fear of us and by the hopeless sensation that history has permanently left their barbaric religion in the dust (as happened with communism). We'll only be rid of them after their children are not programmed in Islamism and after the Islamists die of old age.

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…[W]hat are we doing to ACTIVELY promote american values an to cause an ideological revolution in the mid east?

In addition to establishing the institutions of representative government, a key component of America's war of ideas is the de-Ba'athification and de-Islamitization of the schools.

The U.S.-sponsored government of Hamid Karzai immediately legalized the education of girls and the United States government has built new girls schools and new co-educational schools

( www.usaid.gov/stories/afghanistan/ba_afghan_school.pdf ) – radical outposts of secularism in a traditional society.

The new Iraqi government is officially anti-Islamist. (They have a secular republic, if they can keep it.) And the United States is rebuilding all of that nation’s schools.

In these new schools, the U.S. has distributed nearly 9 million new math and science text books. ( http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/pdf/AYearInIraq_education.pdf )

This was the Bush Administration's TOP reconstruction priority.

The contract for these textbooks was signed two weeks after the fall of Baghdad ( http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm...ubsection=world ). It was the first contract signed for the reconstruction of Iraq, proceeding construction contracts for the improvement of the country's oil industry and physical infrastructure by many months.

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“For example I think we could have taken over Iraq without firing a shot or much of a shot, but its a little to late for that and it would take a while to explain.”

The Coalition invasion of Iraq came very close to what you are talking about here.

Through their mastery of arms, U.S., British, and Australian forces killed only 10,000 to 13,000 enemy combatants (and 3,000 to 4,000 civilians) in the process of taking took over a nation of 25 million people. It was done with fewer than 250,000 soldiers. The American part of the action was to topple Saddam’s government. It was done quickly and directly using maneuver warfare in the purest form ever seen by man. All the usual intermediate steps of destroying the enemy army and destroying enemy cities were bypassed. It looked like an invasion, but the U.S. Armed Forces actually ended up doing something that looked more like a military coup.

During the occupation, the anti-insurgency campaign has claimed most of its American casualties using roadside bombs and suicide car bombs….the tactics of urban terrorism, the last steps taken by every failing insurgency campaign after it has lost its capacity to hold ground. While nearly all insurgent casualties (maybe 2,000 dead) have occurred in incredibly, colossally, suicidally STUPID confrontations with American troops. These were direct, conventional confrontations in which outnumbered, untrained, unorganized, ill-equipped militias have attempted to use attrition warfare against the world’s most lethal killing machine – which answered them with maneuver warfare, the most sophisticated urban warfare that has ever been seen.

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I think all potential for meaningful discussion has been milked from this thread, so I am closing it. I would ask MisterSwig, Stephen, and AshRyan to please chill out!

I would like to use admin’s privilege to add the last word:

I believe that the left and the right have their own religions, and either has the potential to destroy America as a free country. In the long run, religious fundamentalism is the greater evil, a point on which Dr Peikoff is right. Nevertheless, I believe that Statism and totalitarianism, and not religious fundamentalism, whether Christian or Islamic, is the greatest threat facing us today.

I don’t believe that the actual policies of either candidate would differ significantly – on terrorism, Bush has and will continue to cave in to critics, and Kerry will attempt to look tough. Bush will campaign for whatever biblical commandment is popular with the right, and so Kerry will campaign for whatever newly found victim group is popular with the left. The major difference between the two candidates is that Bush is slightly less socialist, and Kerry is more secular and pacifist. Neither has any coherent plan, or political ability to translate even their firmly-held beliefs into major policy changes. Given this alternative, I would rather vote the marginally less socialist and pacifist candidate.

I think the historically unique aspect of our present situation is how deeply anti-intellectual our society has become. There is a huge and growing void of ideas, which neither the contradictory right nor the discredited left are (currently) capable of filling, and which will, if unresolved, lead to creeping totalitarianism. The positive aspect of our situation is the potential for a pro-reason philosophy to fill the gap.

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