The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

The Results of the Motoons

Posted by rantingkraut on January 3, 2010

The BBC followed a report on the attempted Murder of Kurt Westergaard and a Danish police officer with a review of the earlier Motoon saga. This background report starts of with a rehearsal of the Motoons publication history (they were first printed in Jyllands Posten, later reprinted elsewhere etc.). Then the narrator announces “… and this were the results …” before the clip cuts to archive footage of Motoon riots in the Middle East.

If the riots were the result of the cartoons’ publication then the cartoons must have been the cause,  the riots the effect. The rioters’ ideology Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech, In The News, Islamism, media manipulation, Middle East, Religion | Comments Off on The Results of the Motoons

Middle Eastern Wisdom and a Debate on Islam

Posted by rantingkraut on November 26, 2008

According to Ayatolah Khomeini: „The sweat of a camel that eats unclean substances is unclean.“ For more Islamic wisdom, see here.

On a somewhat related note, Robert Spencer has posted the first part of a debate with Daniel Peterson on the subject “Islam threat or not?” The first part looks interesting and, unlike some in the comments section, I am not yet ready to conclude that Peterson is an idoit [sic].

Posted in Islamism, Middle East, quotes, Religion, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Middle Eastern Wisdom and a Debate on Islam

The Abu Ghraib Torture Scandal – an anti-feminist conspiracy?

Posted by rantingkraut on May 30, 2008

In this clip –apparently an outtake from “Standard Operating Procedure”– former Abu Ghraib prison commander Janis Karpinski alleges that the Abu Ghraib torture scandal was needed by the Pentagon which was desperate to tarnish women’s image in the Iraq war. She alleges that the positive image of Jessica Lynch had to be counteracted by that of Lynndie England and herself.

She doesn’t state, however, whether Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Middle East, Strange happenings | Tagged: , | Comments Off on The Abu Ghraib Torture Scandal – an anti-feminist conspiracy?

Free Kareem Amer

Posted by rantingkraut on February 22, 2007

Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer has been sentenced to four years in prison for expressing his opinions on Islam and the Egyptian government. Support the campaign to free him here.

HT: pubphilosopher

Posted in Civil Liberties, Freedom of Speech, Middle East | Comments Off on Free Kareem Amer

No utopia in Iraq

Posted by rantingkraut on November 4, 2006

In his last Telegraph column, Boris Johnson is reflecting on the unfolding quagmire in Iraq:

We destroyed the Baathist state, without realising that nothing would supplant it.

(Source)

Ironically, this may be too optimistic a verdict. In its critique of utopian social engineering, Karl Popper predicted that any attempt to engineer a new society synthetically from a blank canvass will always lead to a totalitarian regime, since such total power will be required to implement the pre-conceived master plan. Hayek had similar things to say about the rationally constructivist approach to social reform. Even though the aim in Iraq was to introduce a liberal democracy, it still required the imposition of pre-ordained principles of government on a populace unfamiliar with them and unprepared for them.

The latter point has been made by Oriana Fallaci when she argued against the war. Having said all this, the Popperian prediction of totalitarianism may yet turn out to be mistaken for all the wrong reasons. The occupying US-led coalition is unlikely to have either the motivation or the resources to impose and maintain such a regime. If the terrorists can’t be defeated swiftly, and it looks just like that, defeat and withdrawal may simply be the preferred option. Instead of bringing democracy, the west may then have inadvertently opened up a new playground for jihadists, where previously there was none. Instead of ‘nothing’ we may be getting a new al-Qaeda base.

Posted in Islamism, Middle East | Comments Off on No utopia in Iraq

Appeasement Doesn’t Work

Posted by rantingkraut on August 18, 2006

Another terrorist assault has failed -this time in Germany. It wasn’t foiled by the police though: the failure merely resulted from the incompetence of the terrorists. As in Madrid, the bombs were apparently planned to detonate on trains. If anyone needed proof that not going to war in Iraq does not safe a country from terrorism, here it is.

Posted in Islamism, Middle East | Comments Off on Appeasement Doesn’t Work

Broder on Israel’s war

Posted by rantingkraut on August 4, 2006

Henryk M. Broder has a piece on Israel’s war just out in English. In a way, Broder is Germany’s answer to Mark Steyn, although much of the sarcasm is lost in translation.

Posted in Middle East | Comments Off on Broder on Israel’s war

Sense of Proportion

Posted by rantingkraut on August 2, 2006

William Hague is apparently in trouble for suggesting that Israel’s response has been somewhat disproportionate. I am having trouble understanding the notion of proportionality in this context.

There are things which Israel is clearly entitled to do: kicking Hezbollah’s ass, wrecking their rockets and obliterating their offices for example. Then there are things it clearly shouldn’t do: Bombing civilian targets of no strategic value and with no connection to Hezbollah, blowing up houses full of kids or UN observations posts for example. In between there are those options where decisions are harder to take such as bombing ports, airports or civilian areas from which Hezbollah operates. Now, it should be clear that Israel has hit a number of those targets it shouldn’t have. Clearly, it deserves to be criticised for this –by its allies as much as anyone else.

Where does all this leave proportionality? Saying that Israel’s response was disproportionate would –if taken literally- suggest that there is some proportion of illegitimate targets one should aim to hit anyway. There isn’t.

In a metaphorical sense, it would suggest that Israel’s response should somehow be commensurate with the severity of Hezbollah’s attack. Arguing this case would simply misunderstand the objective of this war. The IDF is not a domestic police force confronting a criminal. Israel is not out to tell Hezbollah to mend its ways or show more restraint. It went on the attack not to contain a given assault but to destroy Hezbollah as a military force. Such an objective rules out any sense of proportionality: there is no such thing as partial annihilation.

Posted in In The News, Middle East | Comments Off on Sense of Proportion

On Israel Getting it Wrong

Posted by rantingkraut on July 31, 2006

There is an interesting piece on the war in Lebanon by Eric Margolis on lewrockwell.com. This is not the dogmatic Mises-Rothbard regurgitation one might expect on this site, well worth a read.

Posted in Middle East | Comments Off on On Israel Getting it Wrong

Overreaction or not – does it work?

Posted by rantingkraut on July 27, 2006

In the current war in Lebanon, attacks on civilian infrastructure and residential areas have been justified as strategic necessities in an attempt to destroy Hezbollah. The question –aside from the intractable legitimacy issue- which now arises is whether this works. Ze’ev Schiff in Haaretz and Matthias Küntzel in ‘der Spiegel’ have made the point that Israel has no alternative to defeating Hezbollah. Neither Israel nor the West in general can afford to settle for a solution that allows Hezbollah to re-remerge strengthened from this conflict in the long term.

In the view of recent news about casualties, and according to this report as well as this one it looks as if such a long term problem could be a likely outcome. Hezbollah could be let off lightly in a ceasefire deal or could simply involve Israel in a drawn out guerrilla war. Either seems possible, and either looks almost equally damaging. A ceasefire which credibly demands Hezbollah’s disarmament and which is enforced by a credible contingent of UN backed military could offer a way out if for some reason an international force was better placed to disarm hezbollah.

Küntzel argued that a multinational force would not stand up to Hezbollah. That depends on the nations involved. I can see the US having the stamina for it. When the US withdrew from Lebanon in the1980s they were serving abstract strategic interests in a remote place. Now they are in the front line in the war against islamo-fascism and have been directly attacked by it, that should make a difference.

The problem should not so much lie in the US’ commitment but elsewhere: in Iraq. That’s where not only the USA’s but much of the West’s firepower is currently tied up. It is worth remembering that this wouldn’t be so without the avoidable war on Iraq and it is worth noting that one need not be a radical pacifist or Muslim to have opposed Iraq’s invasion. An effective threat of overwhelming force could have a stabilising influence in a situation like this. Clearly visible evidence of being overstretched might do the opposite.

Posted in Middle East | Comments Off on Overreaction or not – does it work?