Betsy Speicher

Theocrats for Democrats!

78 posts in this topic

What makes Iran the Nazi Germany of Islam is their ideological leadership. Some expert, I forget who, once said that if Iran had not become a religious state, women would have been given the right to drive in Saudi Arabia 15 years ago. Iran's radicalization forced the Saudis to stop reforming in order to keep their moral standing in the twisted world of Islam.

Yes Myrhaf. It is the intellectual leadership which Dr. Peikoff and others are particularly concerned about.

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The fact that the Saudis still cloak their real agenda, to any degree at all with a slightly less-threatening official stance, is a form of hedging on their part, in case the U.S. ever acts militarily in our own self-defense against foreign Muslim enemies.
I'm sorry but I don't understand your reasoning at all. Are you saying that their deception makes them less of a threat, because it shows fear? We can speculate all day about their inner thoughts and guess how committed they are to our destruction, but such is not a very smart thing to base policy on. If anything, nations who fight with cunning deception should be regarded as far more dangerous than those who make themselves stick out like a sore thumb.
I would point out that there's a false dichotomy expressed in this thread. America should not pick between Iran and Saudi Arabia for action; it should annihilate both governments and use whatever level of force is required to ensure, with the highest certainty possible, that there are no elements remaining in the country that could so much as cause a scratch to an American. Saudi Arabia is run by disgusting, worthless despots who've raked in billions of oil dollars that belong the West, and who tolerate the actual religious terrorists, the Wahabis.
The discussion started when I wondered out loud why Objectivists focus on Iran more than any other nation. Certainly, I wouldn't mind attacking both, but if you're going to say that Iran is the absolute biggest threat, I need an explanation.

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I seriously question this. Iran is where they stone women to death, and murder young girls for standing up to Mullahs. They have even outlawed Western art. Mullahs have run the country, which I don't think is true of Saudi Arabia.
What research have you done on the matter? I suggest you check out their coverage on Human Rights Watch. Here's just a taste of the most recent ones:

Al-Qa’ida Critic Arrested for ‘Destructive Thoughts’

Court Orders Eye to Be Gouged Out

Teachers Silenced on Blasphemy Charges

14-Year-Old Boy Faces Execution

BTW, Saudi Arabia is ruled by a theocratic monarchy - certainly no better than the form of government in Iran.

Afghanistan harbored al Qaeda, not Saudi Arabia. Was the attack on America financed by Saudi Arabia? Is that true?
What do you mean by "Afghanistan"? It was (is) a lawless piece of land; it was certainly a passive sanctuary for terrorists, but not the source of funding or propaganda for al Qaeda like SA is. Of course, I don't know the direct source for the funds of the 9/11 attacks, but SA funds Sunni terrorist groups like al Qaeda, which in turn executed the attack on September 11th.
I understand that they are at odds, but when fighting against us, they would have a common enemy, and thus reason to support each other. I vaguely recall roomers of Al Qaeda and Taliban members slipping across the border into Iran. It could have all been speculation at the time.
Keep in mind that these two sects have been fighting for hundreds of years over who was the proper succession to the Prophet. You certainly cannot expect the world's most perverted death-cult to follow your path of logic, as reasonable as it may seem.
They murdered over 200 Americans in the 1980s. I don't think we're off limits.
No, we're not, but Hezbollah is simply not a worldwide terrorist organization. It will kill American troops based in their region, but they will not kill American families in New York or LA.
I'd like to see more evidence of Saudi Arabia's culpability. Does anyone have more information on this? If they are as guilty as you say, then it would be truly foolish to not have gone after them. Is this common knowledge?
See second quote about September 11th.
I don't understand your lack of concern. If we're hit by a nuke, that could mean the death of thousands or even millions. As to our own nukes, keep in mind we're not allowed to test them, so they may well not work.
Of course we can test them - we use supercomputers. You may have heard in the news recently that the environmentalists are worried that we'll switch back to live tests now that supercomputers are becoming too slow to calculate the latest nuclear blasts.
Furthermore, they could well give a nuke to a terrorist organization that could detonate it in a major American city.
Most reports I've read estimate they won't reach the capacity to even make a nuke for another ten years, and the ability to reduce it to a size small enough to slip through customs is even more distant. I'm not completely writing off the threat, but keep things in perspective: al Qaeda has already killed Americans, not maybe some time in the distant future.

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The great majority of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi citizens. Osama bin Laden is a Saudi. The Wahabi sect of Islam is the most terroristic of all, and it is Saudi based. The top sacred site of Islam is Mecca, in Saudi Arabia. And, they are sitting on top of the most valuable oil fields on the planet, with crude oil extremely high in quality, that was stolen from Western oil companies and used to finance worldwide Islamic terrorism and idealogy (e.g. the great majority of mosques built in the U.S. in the past few decades.) All of that together is, to my thinking, more than enough reason to pulverize them - just, not only them. And frankly, taking down their pathetic government would probably be 1/100 the job that it was in heavily armed Iraq, but with vastly superior results.

Well, if a U.S. president were to offer these kinds of justifications for destroying the Saudi state, in addition to Iran, and proceeded to do so, I doubt I'd be the one to quibble about it.

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I'm sorry but I don't understand your reasoning at all. Are you saying that their deception makes them less of a threat, because it shows fear?

I have observed that they leave themselves an out, which means that they expect that they might, in some foreseeable future, have to deal with the United States as a free and independent nation. I think their view of the U.S. is more mixed, i.e. they see us as a continuing source of income, and an enemy.

The Iranians, on the other hand, view the U.S. as, for now, only a den of iniquity -- and for the future, as a conquered nation. They make no contingent plans to deal with us as a free independent nation. They see us only as infidels that should be wiped off the face of the earth, and/or as a conquered nation. And no one has to guess that this is how they see us and think of us. Their leaders tell us so all the time. And I think we should listen.

We can speculate all day about their [saudi government officials] inner thoughts and guess how committed they are to our destruction, but such is not a very smart thing to base policy on. If anything, nations who fight with cunning deception should be regarded as far more dangerous than those who make themselves stick out like a sore thumb.

I was not speculating. I was merely observing that the Saudis are leaving themselves an out, while the Iranians have cut off any such option. As I said to Phil, I would not be averse to treating the Saudis however they deserve to be treated. But punishment for what they have done is not nearly as important to us as the prevention of attacks on us in the future, however that can be achieved. And the destruction of the Saudi State may or may not be in our best interest. I am persuadable on this point.

But no matter what, I don't think it is safe to simply leave Iran alone. I think that would be a terrible mistake, because of their importance as the source and center of anti-American ideology.

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I was not speculating. I was merely observing that the Saudis are leaving themselves an out, while the Iranians have cut off any such option.
This, to me, sounds like speculation, because you're assuming their subdued attitude is meant to "leav[e] themselves an out." Isn't it equally plausible that they are determined to defeat the West, but are smart enough to know that it can only be achieved through deception?

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

-Sun Tzu

But punishment for what they have done is not nearly as important to us as the prevention of attacks on us in the future, however that can be achieved.
I absolutely agree, which is why we need to attack the nation lending support al Qaeda and the worldwide spread of Islam, rather than focusing so much on a Shi'a theocracy that attacked our Marines two decades ago.

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In America, my biggest concern number-wise is the number of Muslim blacks. It seems to be the dominant religion now in that group. I would like to know the degree to which foreign based terrorist groups are co-opting home-grown Muslims for their purposes - again showing the complete futility of relying on border controls to solve a problem requiring military action against terrorist states.

Phil,

Most estimates of the Muslim population I've seen put it at something like 0.6% of the U.S. population. Estimates of Muslim numbers, however, are all over the map -- ranging from 0.3 to 2.3% of the population.

Regardless of which of end of that range is true, the black population in America dwarfs that of the Muslims. Black people are 12% of the American population.

Their dominant religion? The same as the rest of America. Christian. (of course)

The Black Muslim movement is an area that many terrorist commentators have been concerned about. But, asside from a little group arrested this year for what will probably turn out to be little more than big talk and irratic behavior (behavior that would eventually have led to the commission of some kind of serious crime), there hasn't been much in the way of terrorist activity detected among Black Muslims--not since the end of seggregation in 1970s.

Why?

I think this piece in the Christian Science Monitor is worth pondering (except for the absurd suggestion in the last third of the article that police surveillance of Muslims may incite them to become terrorists).

American assimilation is a powerful force. Unlike most free (or semi-free) countries of the world, America is not an ethnic enclave that liberalized itself (or was liberalized by military occupation). America was not founded on ethnicity. It was founded on an idea--the idea that government exists to defend individual liberty.

This powerful philosophical idea--much evaded, minimized, violated, and corrupted--remains a living power in the foundations of the United States. It has the power to suddenly unify the American people on a rational and individualistic basis, it has the power to attract large numbers of immigrants from among the best kind of man living in the world, and it has the power to assimilate immigrants who are of a more mixed, less individualistic character.

When it comes to suppressing the tyrannical aspirations--and potentially murderous criminal plots--of the observant Muslims among them, none of the other advanced nations in the world have the advantage of this kind of national identity working on their side.

The Christian Science Monitor ' date='Oct 23 2006']

Radical Islam finds US 'sterile ground'

Home-grown terror cells are largely missing in action, a contrast to Europe's situation

By Alexandra Marks

NEW YORK – The Islamist radicalism that inspired young Muslims to attack their own countries - in London, Madrid, and Bali - has not yielded similar incidents in the United States, at least so far.

"Home-grown" terror cells remain a concern of US law officers, who cite several disrupted plots since 9/11. But the suspects' unsophisticated planning and tiny numbers have led some security analysts to conclude that America, for all its imperfections, is not fertile ground for producing jihadist terrorists.

To understand why, experts point to people like Omar Jaber, an AmeriCorps volunteer; Tarek Radwan, a human rights advocate; and Hala Kotb, a consultant on Middle East affairs. They are the face of young Muslim-Americans today - educated, motivated, and integrated into society - and their voices help explain how the nation's history of inclusion has helped to defuse sparks of Islamist extremism.

"American society is more into the whole assimilation aspect of it," says New York-born Mr. Jaber. "In America, it's a lot easier to practice our religion without complications."

In a nation where mosques have sprung up alongside churches and synagogues, where Muslim women are free to wear the hijab (or not), and where education and job opportunities range from decent to good, the resentments that can breed extremism do not seem very evident in the Muslim community. Since 9/11, however, concern is rising among Muslim-Americans that they are becoming targets of bias and suspicion - by law enforcement as well as fellow citizens. It's a disquieting trend, say the young Muslims - one that might eventually help radicalism to grow.

It's impossible to pinpoint the factors that produce home-grown terrorists, analysts say. But it's also impossible to ignore the stark contrast between the lives of Muslims in European countries where bombings have occurred and those of Muslims in America.

"What we have here among Muslim-Americans is a very conservative success ethic," says John Zogby, president of Zogby International in Utica, N.Y., whose polling firm has surveyed the Muslim-American community. "People come to this country and they like it. They don't view it as the belly of the beast. With very few exceptions, you don't see the bitter enclaves that you have in Europe."

Life in America vs. life in Europe

Part of what so shocked Spain about the Madrid train bombers, and then Britain after the London subway and bus bombings in July 2005, was that most of the perpetrators were native sons. In each case, the young men, allegedly inspired by Al Qaeda ideology, came from poorer neighborhoods heavy on immigrants. (By contrast, a plot foiled in August to blow up airplanes over the Atlantic involved suspects from leafy, middle- and upper-middle-class neighborhoods in Britain.)

America, too, has poorer neighborhoods with large Muslim concentrations, but they tend to be interspersed with other ethnic groups and better assimilated into society. Another difference, some suggest, is the general profile of Muslims who have come to the US and raised their families here.

Most Muslim immigrants came to America for educational or business opportunities and from educated, middle-class families in their home countries, according to an analysis by Peter Skerry of Boston College and the Brookings Institution. In Europe, the majority came to work in factory jobs and often from poorer areas at home.

European Muslims today live primarily in isolated, low-income enclaves where opportunities for good jobs and a good education are limited. In the US, 95 percent of Muslim-Americans are high school graduates, according to "Muslims in the Public Square," a Zogby International survey in 2004. Almost 60 percent are college graduates, and Muslims are thriving economically around the country. Sixty-nine percent of adults make more than $35,000 a year, and one-third earn more than $75,000, the survey showed.

In Britain, by contrast, two-thirds of Muslims live in low-income households, according to British census data. Three-quarters of those households are overcrowded. British Muslims' jobless rate is 15 percent - three times higher than in the general population. For young Muslims between 16 and 24, the jobless rate is higher: 17.5 percent.

"The culture is qualitatively different [in the American Muslim community] from what we've seen from public information from Europe, and that actually says very positive things about our society," says Jonathan Winer, a terrorism expert in Washington. "We don't have large populations of immigrants with a generation sitting around semi-employed and deeply frustrated. That's a gigantic difference."

Jaber, the AmeriCorps volunteer, who is studying to become a medical doctor, says he has not experienced anti-Muslim bias. In part, he says, that may be because he doesn't have an accent or look particularly Middle Eastern - his father is Palestinian and his mother Filipino. But he also credits America's melting-pot mentality, as does Ms. Kotb, the Middle East consultant.

"We weren't isolated growing up. We were part of the culture," says Kotb, who grew up outside Washington in a family that inculcated a success ethic. "Religion was important, but not so much that you'd have to cover your head or if you don't pray five times a day, that's it - nothing like that. There were a lot more progressive attitudes" within her local Muslim community.

In mosques in America, it's fairly common for imams to preach assimilation, says Mr. Zogby. That's not as true in Europe, particularly in poorer neighborhoods where sermons can be laced with extremism.

"The success of ... Saudi-inspired religious zealotry in Europe was in large part because the Saudis put up the money to build mosques and pay for imams," says Ian Cuthbertson, a counterterrorism expert at the World Policy Institute at the New School for Social Research. "The American Muslim community was rich enough not to require Saudi money to build its mosques."

In Europe, it's estimated that millions of second- and third-generation Muslims have not been well assimilated in their adopted countries, so have little or no fealty to either the European country they live in or the one their parents were born in. "They are much more susceptible to the Internet, returning jihadist fighters, and extremist imams," says Thomas Sanderson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "There's no doubt that Europe has an incubator environment and we have a somewhat sterile environment for radicalism."

To be sure, the United States has brought charges in several terrorism-related cases involving American Muslims. Some have resulted in convictions, notably the 2002 case of six Yemeni-Americans from Lackawanna, N.Y. Other cases are pending. (See chart on Page 2.)

Identifying and tracking home-grown terrorists is a complicated task - one that risks alienating or even infuriating the general Muslim-American citizenry if tactics are seen as unfair.

Feeling a chill

The young Muslims interviewed for this story chose their words carefully, but their inference is clear: They worry that suspicion toward Muslims has been building since 9/11, and they suggest that US intervention in Iraq and its support for Israel cause angst among many Arab-Americans.

US foreign policies "in the long term are going to hurt the US," says Mr. Radwan, the human rights activist, who works in Washington. "They, along with the crackdown on Muslim-Americans [by law enforcement], feed a feeling of resentment and the perception that the US acts on the basis of a double standard."

Indeed, America's Muslim community would wage the war on terror differently. According to the 2004 Zogby survey, three-quarters say the best way is for the US to change its foreign policy in the Middle East by recognizing a Palestinian state and being less supportive of Israel.

A newer concern for America's Muslims is their standing in post-9/11 society. Many sense that the ground under their feet is shifting - and young people like Florida-born Radwan, in particular, feel it. A 2001 graduate of Texas A&M University, Radwan wanted to become a doctor and began working as a medical researcher. One month after the 9/11 attacks, he was let go - at the end of a three-month probationary period. Afterward, he says, he couldn't get even an interview for a job that used his biochemistry degree or research skills. Eventually he abandoned his hopes of a medical career and shifted to human rights work.

That experience leads him to suggest another reason the US hasn't seen European-style homegrown terror cells: the intense scrutiny the FBI has focused on Muslim-Americans. "That is good in the short term, but bad in the long term," he says. "The Bush administration policies feed resentment that ... will stay in the Arab- American psyche for a long time."

The FBI says it doesn't target any community, neighborhood, or religion. Agents simply go where the leads take them, says John Miller, the FBI's assistant director of public affairs. But he adds: "We have put a growing effort into community outreach because we understand the discomfort the amount of pressure our attention can bring to a community."

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What research have you done on the matter? I suggest you check out their coverage on Human Rights Watch. Here's just a taste of the most recent ones

Ok, but check out this website on Iran's history of human rights violations (Caution, there are some brutally graphic pictures in this site):

http://www.holycrime.com/

I still don't see how Saudi Arabia could possibly be worse than Iran.

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I still don't see how Saudi Arabia could possibly be worse than Iran.
Why is that? I'm very curious. It it unthinkable that a Sunni monarchy could be as brutal as a Shi'a theocracy? Is it because one guy held hands with Bush and the other appeared on Newsweek with a scary-looking explosion in the background? Is it not enough that they silence critics of al Qaeda, gouge eyes, and execute young boys?

I don't understand what it takes to convince you of this. What about flogging homosexuals? Or perhaps not letting little girls flee a burning building due to their dress code violations? I'm really lost.

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Why is that? I'm very curious. It it unthinkable that a Sunni monarchy could be as brutal as a Shi'a theocracy? Is it because one guy held hands with Bush and the other appeared on Newsweek with a scary-looking explosion in the background? Is it not enough that they silence critics of al Qaeda, gouge eyes, and execute young boys?

I don't understand what it takes to convince you of this. What about flogging homosexuals? Or perhaps not letting little girls flee a burning building due to their dress code violations? I'm really lost.

The Saudis are repressive grand-scale violators of the rights of THEIR OWN citizens, but they really don't want to harm the West. We are their best customers and they love accumulating all that money from us so that they can get the hell out their sand dune wastelands and go play in Beverly Hills and Las Vegas.

Sure Saudi royalty supports religion because it keeps their own browbeaten subjects in line and keeps them from entertaining thoughts of revolution.

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Why is that? I'm very curious. It it unthinkable that a Sunni monarchy could be as brutal as a Shi'a theocracy? Is it because one guy held hands with Bush and the other appeared on Newsweek with a scary-looking explosion in the background? Is it not enough that they silence critics of al Qaeda, gouge eyes, and execute young boys?

No Oakes, it is because of the link I provided you to a website with a comprehensive overview of Iran's crimes against humanity that, so far from my knowledge, far outstrip anything the Saudi's ever do.

I don't understand what it takes to convince you of this. What about flogging homosexuals? Or perhaps not letting little girls flee a burning building due to their dress code violations? I'm really lost.

Yes, Saudi Arabia is terrible, but look at that website I provided. Look at how many public hangings, stonings, floggings, and executions have happened in only the last four months. The terrible cases you have brought up concerning what Saudi Arabia does, is what Iran does on an average monthly basis (read the website I provided, click torture, floggings, etc.)

Read their detailed accounts of the torture methods and instruments they use. You have a lot of evidence to find before Saudi Arabia can ever stand next to Iran.

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The Saudis are repressive grand-scale violators of the rights of THEIR OWN citizens, but they really don't want to harm the West.
I posted examples of internal rights violations in response to Thales who said Iran is where they stone women to death, and murder young girls for standing up to Mullahs. My intention was only to refute his implication that Iran is unique in this respect.

But you're right. This whole side-discussion is silly - it isn't their internal violations that matter, its their external threat to America. And to me the choices are: A Shiite state using Hezbollah as a regional proxy, and a Sunni state on a mission to spread radical Islam and fund global Jihad.

The terrible cases you have brought up concerning what Saudi Arabia does, is what Iran does on an average monthly basis (read the website I provided, click torture, floggings, etc.)
This is just getting ridiculous. So you're now skeptical that these are frequent events in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the Qur'an is the constitution and Shari'a is its legal manifestation?

I'm not about to fish for shady-looking websites listing pictures of beheadings-by-sword and color videos of punitive amputations to compete with the one you've provided. If you choose to grant the Saudis this generous presumption in the face of everything I've already said, I won't waste my time any more.

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This, to me, sounds like speculation, because you're assuming their subdued attitude is meant to "leav[e] themselves an out." Isn't it equally plausible that they are determined to defeat the West, but are smart enough to know that it can only be achieved through deception?

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

-Sun Tzu

But I don't agree that it is particularly smart of the Saudis to deceive, nor with the assumption that the West can be defeated only, or even primarily, by means of deception perpetrated by anyone. I believe that the Iranian leadership holds a much more powerful weapon than deception, i.e. [in Miss Rand's words via John Galt] "self-righteously uncompromising evil."

That is the perfect weapon to wield against an opponent that demonstrates "a cringing, bargaining, traitorous good" which is unfortunately descriptive of a number of American political leaders. The worst part of the Republican party (the Christian fundamentalist types) may be a little closer, ideologically, to the Islamists than the “cringing, bargaining, traitorous good” types. But they generally have nowhere near enough consistency to compare with the Islamists.

And yes, the "cringing, bargaining, traitorous good" element demonstrates enough idiocy to believe in fantasies like the 'friendship' of the Saudis; or enough cynicism and/or pragmatism to pretend to believe in such 'friendship' (with the pathetic idea that such a pretense is somehow practical). But I submit that such beliefs and practices are superficial, and proceed from an underlying belief in the morality of altruism.

If the West is to fail, the cause will not be the deception of such obvious liars as the Saudi leadership. It will be the failure of Americans to assert our right of existence. And such an enormous failure can only arise from our own fundamental ideas, not from the lies of some Saudi leaders. The fundamental ideas that are so crippling to Americans are common altruistic ones, like believing that a right to one's own life must morally be purchased by sacrificing one's own interests to the interests of others, even if those others are mortal enemies.

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[...] I believe that the Iranian leadership holds a much more powerful weapon than deception, i.e. [in Miss Rand's words via John Galt] "self-righteously uncompromising evil."

That is the perfect weapon to wield against an opponent that demonstrates "a cringing, bargaining, traitorous good" which is unfortunately descriptive of a number of American political leaders. [...]

Here's an easy way to judge which method is better:

1) How many news specials have there been about the Iranian nuclear threat?

2) How many news specials have there been about the Pakistani nuclear threat?

I think it is beyond any doubt which method has worked better. And all it takes is putting a moderate face on, letting the US military set up shop, and making a few visits to the White House.

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Here's an easy way to judge which method is better:

1) How many news specials have there been about the Iranian nuclear threat?

2) How many news specials have there been about the Pakistani nuclear threat?

I think it is beyond any doubt which method has worked better. And all it takes is putting a moderate face on, letting the US military set up shop, and making a few visits to the White House.

I'm not sure that I'm understanding your point here. Is it that deception "works" better than self-righteously uncompromising evil? If so, then how to explain the fact that the centrifuges were sent to the nation whose political leaders have most openly declared their intentions of destroying Americans -- to the self-righteous, uncompromisingly evil Iranians.

Would just any Muslim nation dare to strike the U.S. with nuclear weapons? What about Pakistan? If so, then why haven't they done so? If I'm recalling correctly, I thought that they have had nuclear weapons for years.

No American who retains any connection to reality, in regard to foreign policy, can be deceived about the evil intentions of Muslim nations toward the U.S. Muslim nations acquiring nuclear technology, and lying about it, is by this time superfluous data. Americans have long had far more than enough information to know which are the most dangerous foreign enemy states.

The only reason that we do nothing is not because we are lied to by officials in various Muslim nations. These lies are routine, and we know it. It is respect for the altruistic morality that causes Americans to allow almost any and every Muslim enemy nation to proceed with virtually every plan to destroy us.

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This is just getting ridiculous. So you're now skeptical that these are frequent events in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where the Qur'an is the constitution and Shari'a is its legal manifestation?

I've never said that these things don't happen often in Saudi Arabia; all I've said is that, based on all evidence I've heard or seen thus far, they happen much more often in Iran.

I'm not about to fish for shady-looking websites listing pictures of beheadings-by-sword and color videos of punitive amputations to compete with the one you've provided.

Then don't try to make the argument that Saudi Arabia is more barbaric than Iran if you aren't going to offer me comprehensive evidence.

If you choose to grant the Saudis this generous presumption in the face of everything I've already said, I won't waste my time any more.

I've never granted anything to the Saudis; they are scum and I've said so. All I'm arguing is that to put Saudi Arabia above Iran (in terms of brutality, barbarism, being a threat, etc.) is a serious under-estimation of just how totally evil Iran actually is.

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I'm not sure that I'm understanding your point here. Is it that deception "works" better than self-righteously uncompromising evil? If so, then how to explain the fact that the centrifuges were sent to the nation whose political leaders have most openly declared their intentions of destroying Americans -- to the self-righteous, uncompromisingly evil Iranians.
That's the point! The deceptive nations would never attack us directly, but they certainly are willing to use other nations and groups as proxies. In this case, Iran serves that purpose. For Saudi Arabia, al Qaeda serves that purpose. These nations know how to wage war against the West without seeing retaliation: Just smile while paying and harboring others to do the dirty work.

And it certainly works. You will never see a story about the Saudi threat, or the Pakistani threat, but you will frequently see scary montages about Iran and North Korea. Unfortunately, most people don't even bother finding out simple facts such as that Iran is primarily Shi'a, whereas al Qaeda finds common cause with the Sunnis in SA. If they did do such research, I think they too would view them as far worse a threat - the only threat to have actually killed Americans on our own soil.

I've never said that these things don't happen often in Saudi Arabia; all I've said is that, based on all evidence I've heard or seen thus far, they happen much more often in Iran.
And how did you reach this conclusion? Did you count the number of HRW articles I linked to, and compared it to the number of links on the "Holy Crime" site? Or is it based on a vague calculation you've made based on tid-bits you've heard from the news?

Honestly, how could you or I possibly know how often these things happen? These are some of the most closed down societies on earth, and here we are thousands of miles away reading a few second-hand accounts that happened to leak out onto the internet. For you to demand "comprehensive evidence" as if this were a murder trial is kind of like demanding a bathroom scale go to 10 significant digits - that level of precision is simply impossible.

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That's the point! The deceptive nations would never attack us directly, but they certainly are willing to use other nations and groups as proxies. In this case, Iran serves that purpose. For Saudi Arabia, al Qaeda serves that purpose. These nations know how to wage war against the West without seeing retaliation: Just smile while paying and harboring others to do the dirty work.

And it certainly works. You will never see a story about the Saudi threat, or the Pakistani threat, but you will frequently see scary montages about Iran and North Korea. Unfortunately, most people don't even bother finding out simple facts such as that Iran is primarily Shi'a, whereas al Qaeda finds common cause with the Sunnis in SA. If they did do such research, I think they too would view them as far worse a threat - the only threat to have actually killed Americans on our own soil.

Oh, it "works." You mean, like it "worked" for the German politicians who intended to use Hitler to get rid of the Communists; but then -- oops -- he took power. Something like that right? Yes, that was brilliance on their part, to use the righteously uncompromising evil to "do their dirty work."

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Oh, it "works." You mean, like it "worked" for the German politicians who intended to use Hitler to get rid of the Communists; but then -- oops -- he took power. Something like that right? Yes, that was brilliance on their part, to use the righteously uncompromising evil to "do their dirty work."
You've used Ayn Rand quotes and now murky analogies to explain why Iran's methods are better and more dangerous. I don't think such mechanisms are necessary for such a concrete and simple situation. Who has done more to spread Islam and fund global Jihad, SA or Iran? Who has been brought to task more often by the media and the politicians, SA or Iran? This really isn't that hard.

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You've used Ayn Rand quotes and now murky analogies to explain why Iran's methods are better and more dangerous. I don't think such mechanisms are necessary for such a concrete and simple situation. Who has done more to spread Islam and fund global Jihad, SA or Iran? Who has been brought to task more often by the media and the politicians, SA or Iran? This really isn't that hard.

As for your question about which is worse S.A. or Iran: I thought that the state department has known for years that Iran was the biggest state sponsor of Islamic terrorism. But there can certainly be more than one dangerous source of evil ideas and actions.

In this, "WWIII" - so far - there are several brands of Islam promoted by terrorist groups, and more importantly, by states. There are also the dangerous leftover Communist states. [And there may be some other collectivist ideologies that pose dangers to us too. I have some fairly indistinct idea(s), about what these might be; but at this point these ideas are still fuzzy, and I am not interested in discussing these if or until these ideas become more distinct.]

But to me, Hitler, and the way that he rose to power is no murky analogy, but a glaringly obvious comparison to the way that the Iranian leader is functioning today in the Middle East. And the quotes from Ayn Rand are a succinct way to communicate the fact that ideas, and those who hold them more consistently, have greater power than those who are less certain, less righteous, and whose primary 'modus operandi' is the deception of others.

And I am not, btw, arguing that those who are more righteous and consistent are not also deceptive. But the deception of faith is, first and foremost, self-deception. The deception of others, for the most consistently faithful, is a secondary consideration, for which the justification is faith in some commandments that, in this case, tell them that it is a moral imperative to lie to infidels if and when they can't kill or convert them.

I did believe it obvious (so that it did not seem to me to be speculation) that the lies of Saudi leaders arose from hedging. But since you considered this as mere speculation, do you believe that their lies are the lies of the faithful, justified on religious grounds? (I don't see any third alternative).

In any case, my view is that the more that evil is convinced that it is good, the more dangerous it is. So, I would say that, generally speaking, the states led by those who possess and demonstrate the most moral certainty in regard to their evil actions, hold the greatest destructive power -- one that we cannot afford to ignore.

But I am not now, nor would I ever argue that any evil state whose leaders do not yet publicly and loudly trumpet their own moral superiority are somehow not evil, not destructive, or do not have the potential for much greater evil. And I am willing to become more educated about the evil of the Saudi Arabian brand of Islam, unless this would entail leaving Iran alone, which I think would be an extraordinarily bad idea.

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And it certainly works. You will never see a story about the Saudi threat, or the Pakistani threat, but you will frequently see scary montages about Iran and North Korea.

Don't forget that if it weren't for Iran (the country that isn't engaging in deception), none of these countries (Pakistan, SA) would ever have the will to attack or criticize the United States.

Deception may be useful in the limited context of a full scale war. But in the context of a war between good and evil, ideas play a very important role and as the recent events have shown, a much more important role than any deception. No amount of deception will fetch you the victory which winning the war of ideas can fetch you for the simple reason that ideas determine the way you think.

Unfortunately, most people don't even bother finding out simple facts such as that Iran is primarily Shi'a, whereas al Qaeda finds common cause with the Sunnis in SA.

That is solely a matter of concretes. There is about as much difference between the Shi'a and the Sunni as there is between a Dark Age Muslim and a Dark Age Christian. In terms of fundamentals, they are the same and are equally a threat.

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But to me, Hitler, and the way that he rose to power is no murky analogy, but a glaringly obvious comparison to the way that the Iranian leader is functioning today in the Middle East.
You weren't comparing Admedi' to Hitler, you were comparing how the Germans used the Nazis to vanquish the Commies with how the Pakis are using the Iranians to vanquish the Americans. And I do indeed think it is murky, but I it's a frivolous side-discussion so I'll leave it at that.
And the quotes from Ayn Rand are a succinct way to communicate the fact that ideas, and those who hold them more consistently, have greater power than those who are less certain, less righteous, and whose primary 'modus operandi' is the deception of others.
You have yet to convince me that the Iranians uphold anything "more consistently." It is clear in Islamic scripture that you should exploit temporary alliances with "evil" if it proves helpful in spreading the faith. With that in mind, their superficial moderatism and under-the-table donations to "charities" is perfectly consistent.
And I am willing to become more educated about the evil of the Saudi Arabian brand of Islam, unless this would entail leaving Iran alone, which I think would be an extraordinarily bad idea.
Well keep in mind that the discussion is solely about who is the most important target. It sounds like you're willing to be convinced of the Saudis' danger, but only if we continue to regard Iran as the absolute greatest danger. That is the very belief I want to combat.

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Don't forget that if it weren't for Iran (the country that isn't engaging in deception), none of these countries (Pakistan, SA) would ever have the will to attack or criticize the United States.
I certainly have forgotten this, because no evidence has been offered to prove it. Why would a Shi'a state be the intellectual mover of a rival Sunni state?
Deception may be useful in the limited context of a full scale war. But in the context of a war between good and evil, ideas play a very important role and as the recent events have shown, a much more important role than any deception.
Again, why the unfounded belief that Saudi Arabia is an intellectually vacuous piece of earth thriving on the moral feeding tube of Iran? Even the original post in this thread displays an example of Saudi Arabia actively pushing ideas into the Western world. "Deception" simply allows them to push the ideas without much resistance.
Unfortunately, most people don't even bother finding out simple facts such as that Iran is primarily Shi'a, whereas al Qaeda finds common cause with the Sunnis in SA.
That is solely a matter of concretes. There is about as much difference between the Shi'a and the Sunni as there is between a Dark Age Muslim and a Dark Age Christian. In terms of fundamentals, they are the same and are equally a threat.
Don't you think it's a little important to figure out those little minor details, like that Iran practices a completely different sect of Islam than al Qaeda? Apparently you believe it doesn't matter; that all Muslim nations are "equally a threat," whether they support al Qaeda or not. Why, then, do you choose Iran? I hear Dubai is pretty Islamic.

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Since Oakes has been pushing this issue, I've done some more research, time permitting, on the matter.

I found the following Intellectual Activist Article, "Blood For Oil", by Tracinski.

LINK:

The fanatics who sponsor and commit terrorist acts can't finance these activities on the strength of their own abilities. Indeed, a recent UN report authored by Arab intellectuals decried the economically and technologically backward state of the Arab world. Saudi universities, for example, produce more graduates in Islamic theology than in any other field; the Muslim world as a whole has produced fewer than one percent of the world's scientists; students in the Saudi-funded religious schools in Pakistan cannot do elementary arithmetic and do not know that man has walked on the moon. At the heart of Islamic fundamentalism is a profound hatred for knowledge, learning, technology, and commerce. Left to its own devices, this ideology produces the starvation-level poverty that the Taliban brought to Afghanistan.

So, they are pushing the ideas much more vigorously than I had previously thought.

He goes on:

For the Saudis, however, stolen oil changed everything. The wealthier the West became, the more we enriched the anti-Western fanatics in Arabia.

The Saudi rulers are vigorous promoters of Wahhabism, a fanatical Islamic sect that preaches—among other barbaric doctrines—that Muslims have a duty to hate non-Muslims. They have exported this hatred to the rest of the region, inspiring and sponsoring the Taliban, paying blood money to Palestinian terrorists, broadcasting anti-Jewish incitement and anti-American propaganda in their state-controlled press, and tolerating the free flow of money to organizations like al-Qaeda.

I'll look into Iran, next, to see what he and others says about them.

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You weren't comparing Admedi' to Hitler, you were comparing how the Germans used the Nazis to vanquish the Commies with how the Pakis are using the Iranians to vanquish the Americans. And I do indeed think it is murky, but I it's a frivolous side-discussion so I'll leave it at that.

Since Hitler was the leader of the Nazis, and of Nazi Germany, I thought that comparing him to the leader of today's Iran could not be more clear. The thing that is not precisely the same is that those who are trying to use Iran's leader to do their dirty work for them are (for now) leaders of their own nations, rather than leaders of other political parties in the same nation.

But they are jockeying for power in the region, as German politicians were jockeying for power in their own nation. And if the other Middle Eastern leaders believe for a moment that Iran's leader will not simply take power in the entire region the moment that he has the physical power to do so, they are completely deluded -- which would not surprise me in the least.

However, my point (which, regardless of what you think, I certainly do not consider frivolous), is that attempts by cowards to use self-righteously uncompromising evil men for their own ends, will almost inevitably backfire on the would-be users. And that is why I do not consider would-be manipulative actions by various Middle Eastern leaders as demonstrations of intelligence.

Instead, their behavior strikes me as the pathetic, predictable actions of would-be manipulators, who end up being harmed by the very evil that they attempt to use for their own ends. It's not that I have any pity for them. I have only contempt. I'm just observing a certain kind of phenomena.

And I believe that, as long as the leader of Iran survives (hopefully not long) he will certainly show no compunction about borders if/when he is helped, allowed, and encouraged to acquire effective nuclear weapons by other Middle Eastern nations. And anyway, I think that it's imperative to destroy Iran, so that we never have to suffer the possible success of evil from that quarter.

You have yet to convince me that the Iranians uphold anything "more consistently." It is clear in Islamic scripture that you should exploit temporary alliances with "evil" if it proves helpful in spreading the faith. With that in mind, their superficial moderatism and under-the-table donations to "charities" is perfectly consistent.

Well keep in mind that the discussion is solely about who is the most important target. It sounds like you're willing to be convinced of the Saudis' danger, but only if we continue to regard Iran as the absolute greatest danger. That is the very belief I want to combat.

Actually, I do not mean to insist that Iran is the "absolute greatest danger." I thought I have said this at least twice or more -- but I think that the main error would be to leave that nation intact, regardless of what is done, or what needs to be done with regard to other nations.

I hesitate to make another comparison, but I will. In WWII for instance, Japan could not simply be ignored, in favor of doing something about Hitler, nor the reverse. So I certainly believe that there can be more than one evil threatening us. So, what I am saying is: I could be convinced that there is another danger, and perhaps an equal (and maybe) a greater one. However, I believe that it would still be unsafe to leave Iran intact.

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